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Status Epilepticus : Phenytoin Sodium Vs. Levetiracetam


Status epilepticus (SE) is a life-threatening condition in which the brain is in a state of persistent seizure. Definitions vary, but traditionally it is defined as one continuous unremitting seizure lasting longer than 30 minutes, or recurrent seizures without regaining consciousness between seizures for greater than 30 minutes (or shorter with medical intervention). It is always considered a medical emergency. There is some evidence that 5 minutes is sufficient to damage neurons and that seizures are unlikely to self-terminate by that time. First aid guidelines for seizures state that, as a rule, an ambulance should be called for seizures lasting longer than 5 minutes (if this is the patient's first seizure episode and there were no known precipitating factors, or if SE happens to an epileptic whose seizures were previously absent or well-controlled for a considerable time period, then that step can be taken before that point). The mortality rate of status epilepticus is very high (at least 20%), especially if treatment is not initiated quickly. However, with optimal neurological care and a good prognosis, the patient (even some epileptics) in otherwise good health can survive with minimal or no brain damage, and can even avoid future seizures.

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