The Treatment of Super-Refractory Status Epilepticus

Super-refractory status epilepticus is defined as status epilepticus that continues or recurs 24 h or more after the onset of anaesthetic therapy, including those cases where status epilepticus recurs on the reduction or withdrawal of anaesthesia. It is an uncommon but important clinical problem with high mortality and morbidity rates. This article reviews the treatment approaches. There are no controlled or randomized studies, and so therapy has to be based on clinical reports and opinion. The published world literature on the following treatments was critically evaluated: anaesthetic agents, anti-epileptic drugs, magnesium infusion, pyridoxine, steroids and immunotherapy, ketogenic diet, hypothermia, emergency resective neurosurgery and multiple subpial transection, transcranial magnetic stimulation, vagal nerve stimulation, deep brain stimulation, electroconvulsive therapy, drainage of the cerebrospinal fluid and other older drug therapies. The importance of treating the identifying cause is stressed. A protocol and flowchart for managing super-refractory status epilepticus is suggested. In view of the small number of published reports, there is an urgent need for the establishment of a database of outcomes of individual therapies.

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