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Seizures account for 1% of all emergency department visits for children, and the etiologies range from benign to life-threatening. The challenge for emergency clinicians is to diagnose and treat the life-threatening causes of seizures while avoiding unnecessary radiation exposure and painful procedures in patients who are unlikely to have an emergent pathology. When treating patients in status epilepticus, emergency clinicians are also faced with the challenge of choosing anticonvulsant medications that will be efficacious while minimizing harmful side effects.
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Seizures and status epilepticus are frequent neurologic emergencies in the emergency department, accounting for 1% of all emergency department visits. The management of this time-sensitive and potentially life-threatening condition is challenging for both prehospital providers and emergency clinicians. The approach to seizing patients begins with differentiating seizure activity from mimics and follows with identifying potential secondary etiologies, such as alcohol-related seizures.

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Generalized tonic-clonic seizure activity in infants and children frequently leads to an emergency department visit, often after emergency medical service personnel, such as paramedics, provide initial evaluation and treatment. Important subsets of patients who present to the emergency department include those with non-seizure-mediated movements, those with nongeneralized seizure activity, those with complications of anticonvulsant therapy, and those with status epilepticus. Recognizing, diagnosing, and treating these conditions and minimizing complications are key issues to be considered in the refinement of emergency department practice.

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[Management of convulsive status epilepticus in infants and children].

Rev Neurol (Paris) 2009 Apr 4;165(4):390-7. Epub 2009 Mar 4.
P Hubert, D Parain, L Vallée
Convulsive status epilepticus in childhood is a life threatening condition with serious risk of neurological sequelae which constitutes a medical emergency. Clinical and experimental data suggest that prolonged seizures can have immediate and long-term adverse consequences on the immature and developing brain. So the child who presents with a continuous generalized convulsive seizure lasting greater than five minutes should be promptly treated.

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Pediatric seizures.

Emerg Med Clin North Am 2013 Aug 15;31(3):733-54. Epub 2013 Jun 15.
Maneesha Agarwal, Sean M Fox
Seizures are a commonly encountered condition within the emergency department and, because of this, can engender complacency on the part of the physicians and staff. Unfortunately, there is significant associated morbidity and mortality with seizures, and they should never be regarded as routine. This point is particularly important with respect to seizures in pediatric patients.

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