Status epilepticus

Status epilepticus is a prolonged seizure that can cause brain damage and sometimes death. Head injury, drug overdose or withdrawal, stroke, brain tumor, infection, or seizure disorders are common causes of status epilepticus.

It occurs when:

  • A seizure lasts more than 30 minutes.
  • Two or more seizures occur in rapid succession (one right after the other) during a 30-minute period and the person does not fully regain consciousness. (These seizures may look like one long seizure.)

Last Updated: October 15, 2009

Author: Monica Rhodes

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Steven C. Schachter, MD - Neurology

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