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Original Contribution
December 2006

Clinical Implications of Status Epilepticus in Patients With Neoplasms

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Neurology, Ohio State University, Columbus (Dr Cavaliere); Department of Neurosurgery, Pennsylvania State University, Hershey (Dr Farace); and Department of Neurology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville (Dr Schiff).

Arch Neurol. 2006;63(12):1746-1749. doi:10.1001/archneur.63.12.1746
Abstract

Objectives  To elucidate factors that contribute to the development of status epilepticus (SE) and determine prognostic factors and the impact on 30-day survival.

Design  Retrospective review of medical records.

Setting  University of Virginia Health System.

Patients  Thirty-five patients with SE secondary to a tumor, either primary or systemic, or its treatment.

Main Outcome Measures  Seizure control, 30-day mortality, and overall survival.

Results  Status epilepticus most commonly occurred at tumor presentation or progression and was controlled in all cases. Thirty-day mortality was 23%. Patients with systemic cancer were at higher risk of death, although they were older and had more acute comorbidities. Age, tumor type, status of tumor at time of event, history of epilepsy, and status type were not predictive of mortality. Age was associated with a higher rate of nursing home placement and shorter overall survival. Overall survival was determined by underlying tumor.

Conclusions  Status epilepticus in patients with cancer is responsive to therapy. Workup of underlying causes is indicated, even in the presence of subtherapeutic antiepileptic drug levels, because coexistent conditions contributing to the development of SE may be present. In those with known cancer, brain imaging should be performed because SE usually occurs in the setting of tumor progression or new metastases.

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