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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home First Aid and Emergency Status Epilepticus

Status Epilepticus

Status epilepticus is defined as 30 minutes of continuous seizure activity or a series of seizures without return to full consciousness between the seizures. Shorter period of seizure activity causes neuronal injury and that seizure self-termination is unlikely after 5 minutes, times as brief as 5 minutes is defined as status epilepticus. Generalized refers to abnormal excessive cortical electrical activity, while convulsive refers to the motor activity of a seizure. Subtle status epilepticus consists of electrical seizure activity that endures when the associated movements are fragmentary or even absent.


Status Epilepsy is considered a medical emergency because of prolonged seizure the body struggles to circulate oxygen efficiently. When this happens, the brain does not get enough oxygen and, over a long period of time, this can lead to brain damage.



It can lead to death although it is very rare. The management of status epilepsy is clear and known at most medical centres. Death or brain damage from status seizures is most likely to result from:

  • Direct damage to the brain caused by the injury that causes the seizures
  • Stress on the system from repeated generalized tonic clonic seizures
  • Injury from repeated electrical discharge in the brain.

Since the status epilepsy is most common in extremes of age groups that is the children and the old age, a prompt intervention is required.


When to call for medical help:

  • Call an ambulance whenever the person has seizure for more than 5 minutes.

  • If you know the person has seizure for the first time.

  • One seizure after another without person regaining consciousness.

  • The person is injured during the seizure attack.


The treatment instituted by the medical team includes air way patency, respirations with IV fluid administration. An immediate diazepam medication is given via the intravenous catheter. Later after the seizures appear to subside the doctor shall try to find the cause.