What is the prevalence of status epilepticus (SE)?

Updated: Feb 13, 2018
  • Author: Julie L Roth, MD; Chief Editor: Stephen A Berman, MD, PhD, MBA  more...
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Extrapolating from a population-based study in Richmond, VA, DeLorenzo et al estimated that 50,000-200,000 cases of SE occur annually in the United States. [34] In 1994, Shorvon estimated that cases of nonconvulsive SE occurred at an annual rate of 15-20 per 100,000 population, of which only 3-4 were clearly instances of complex partial SE. [35] This finding is in accordance with Celesia's early estimates in 1976 [20]  and holds up in modern epidemiological studies. [36]  Mortality rate from status epilepticus varies by etiology, clinical and electrographic features, and age, but ranges from 12–28%. [37]  

True absence status (ie, generalized, ongoing, 3-Hz spike-and-wave activity) may account for fewer patients with nonconvulsive SE than previously believed. Nonconvulsive SE, and by extension focal SE, is believed to be frequently overlooked.

Epilepsy partialis continua is rare by comparison, even in pediatric epilepsy referral centers, though it is overwhelmingly a syndrome of children. In the author's series of 41 patients with focal SE who were referred from a tertiary referral center that treated adults over 15 years, only 3 had epilepsy partialis continua.

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