Seizures in the Intensive Care Unit

Eelco F. M. Wijdicks

in Neurologic Complications of Critical Illness

Third edition

Published on behalf of © Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780195371093
Published online April 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199322886 | DOI:

Series: Contemporary Neurology Series

Seizures in the Intensive Care Unit

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The circumstances that surround critical illness make patients more vulnerable to seizures, yet few patients in the ICU have seizures.1 A patient may present with a seizure in the midst of a developing critical illness, but a new seizure in a recently stabilized patient is equally alarming, and both scenarios may be perceived by the attending intensivist as a major complication. Seizures in critical illness are a neurologic emergency and when not interrupted pharmacologically may settle into status epilepticus. The broad categories of causes of seizure in the ICU are discussed in this chapter. It also provides guidelines for management and in particular when seizures reoccur or progress toward status epilepticus. Moreover, it is appropriate to review the effects that seizures may have on the already fragile cardiorespiratory status of the critically ill patient and how seizures may change biochemical values.

Chapter.  9694 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neurology

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