How is absence status epilepticus diagnosed?

Updated: Oct 01, 2020
  • Author: Raj D Sheth, MD; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Answer

Answer

Absence status epilepticus occurs in about 10% of patients with childhood absence epilepsy. Typically, a child with staring spells is misdiagnosed as having partial complex seizures and is treated with carbamazepine. In fact, carbamazepine can precipitate absence status, which is a nonconvulsive status epilepticus in which patients appear to be in a "twilight state." They are able to answer questions intermittently, although at times they are confused. EEG is crucial in the diagnosis; it shows near-continuous generalized spike and wave discharges.


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