Status epilepticus is a continuous seizure state. It occurs when a person has a continuous epileptic seizure or one seizure followed by another without the person regaining consciousness. It can occur in all types of seizures.
What is going on in the body?
Seizures are due to a temporary electrical disturbance in the brain. This can affect all areas of the brain or it can spread out from a single area. Status epilepticus occurs when the seizure continues for a long period of time. During this time, the person never regains consciousness. This type of prolonged seizure can result in death if it is not treated right away.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
Any condition that might causes structural damage to the brain can lead to status epilepticus. These include:
intracerebral hemorrhage, or bleeding in the brain
trauma or head injury
hypoxia, or not enough oxygen getting to the brain
certain medications such as theophylline
serious infections that affect the brain, such as encephalitis
Status epilepticus can occur at any age. However, it usually affects the very young and very old. It is a medical emergency which can be fatal unless it is treated right away.