ITEMS IN AFP WITH MESH TERM:
Management of Status Epilepticus - Article
ABSTRACT: Status epilepticus is an increasingly recognized public health problem in the United States. Status epilepticus is associated with a high mortality rate that is largely contingent on the duration of the condition before initial treatment, the etiology of the condition, and the age of the patient. Treatment is evolving as new medications become available. Three new preparations--fosphenytoin, rectal diazepam, and parenteral valproate--have implications for the management of status epilepticus. However, randomized controlled trials show that benzodiazepines (in particular, diazepam and lorazepam) should be the initial drug therapy in patients with status epilepticus. Despite the paucity of clinical trials comparing medication regimens for acute seizures, there is broad consensus that immediate diagnosis and treatment are necessary to reduce the morbidity and mortality of this condition. Moreover, investigators have reported that status epilepticus often is not considered in patients with altered consciousness in the intensive care setting. In patients with persistent alteration of consciousness for which there is no clear etiology, physicians should be more quickly prepared to obtain electroencephalography to identify status epilepticus. Physicians should rely on a standardized protocol for management of status epilepticus to improve care for this neurologic emergency.
Psychogenic Nonepileptic Seizures - Article
ABSTRACT: Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures are episodes of movement, sensation, or behaviors that are similar to epileptic seizures but do not have a neurologic origin; rather, they are somatic manifestations of psychologic distress. Patients with psychogenic nonepileptic seizures frequently are misdiagnosed and treated for epilepsy. Video-electroencephalography monitoring is preferred for diagnosis. From 5 to 10 percent of outpatient epilepsy patients and 20 to 40 percent of inpatient epilepsy patients have psychogenic nonepileptic seizures. These patients inevitably have comorbid psychiatric illnesses, most commonly depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, other dissociative and somatoform disorders, and personality pathology, especially borderline personality type. Many patients have a history of sexual or physical abuse. Between 75 and 85 percent of patients with psychogenic nonepileptic seizures are women. Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures typically begin in young adulthood. Treatment involves discontinuation of antiepileptic drugs in patients without concurrent epilepsy and referral for appropriate psychiatric care. More studies are needed to determine the best treatment modalities.
ABSTRACT: Persons with mental retardation are living longer and integrating into their communities. Primary medical care of persons with mental retardation should involve continuity of care, maintenance of comprehensive treatment documentation, routine periodic health screening, and an understanding of the unique medical and behavioral disorders common to this population. Office visits can be successful if physicians familiarize patients with the office and staff, plan for difficult behaviors, and administer mild sedation when appropriate. Some syndromes that cause mental retardation have specific medical and behavioral features. Health issues in these patients include respiratory problems, gastrointestinal disorders, challenging behaviors, and neurologic conditions. Some commonly overlooked health concerns are sexuality, sexually transmitted diseases, and end-of-life decisions.
Evaluation of a First Seizure - Article
ABSTRACT: Seizure is a common presentation in the emergency care setting, and new-onset epilepsy is the most common cause of unprovoked seizures. The patient history and physical examination should direct the type and timing of laboratory and imaging studies. No single sign, symptom, or test dearly differentiates a seizure from a nonseizure event (e.g., syncope, pseudoseizure). Electroencephalography is recommended for patients presenting with a first seizure, and neuroimaging is recommended for adults. Neuroimaging also should be performed in children with risk factors such as head trauma, focal neurologic deficits, or a history of malignancy. Magnetic resonance imaging is preferred over computed tomography except when acute intracranial bleeding is suspected. The most common laboratory findings associated with a seizure are abnormal sodium and glucose levels. Patients with a normal neurologic examination, normal test results, and no structural brain disease do not require hospitalization or antiepileptic medications. Treatment with antiepileptic medications reduces the one- to two-year risk of recurrent seizures but does not reduce the long-term risk of recurrence and does not affect remission rates. Regardless of etiology, a seizure diagnosis severely limits a patient's driving privileges, although laws vary by state.
Primary Brain Tumors in Adults - Article
ABSTRACT: Primary malignant brain tumors account for 2 percent of all cancers in U.S. adults. The most common malignant brain tumor is glioblastoma multiforme, and patients with this type of tumor have a poor prognosis. Previous exposure to high-dose ionizing radiation is the only proven environmental risk factor for a brain tumor. Primary brain tumors are classified based on their cellular origin and histologic appearance. Typical symptoms include persistent headache, seizures, nausea, vomiting, neurocognitive symptoms, and personality changes. A tumor can be identified using brain imaging, and the diagnosis is confirmed with histopathology. Any patient with chronic, persistent headache in association with protracted nausea, vomiting, seizures, change in headache pattern, neurologic symptoms, or positional worsening should be evaluated for a brain tumor. Magnetic resonance imaging is the preferred initial imaging study. A comprehensive neurosurgical evaluation is necessary to obtain tissue for diagnosis and for possible resection of the tumor. Primary brain tumors rarely metastasize outside the central nervous system, and there is no standard staging method. Surgical resection of the tumor is the mainstay of therapy. Postoperative radiation and chemotherapy have improved survival in patients with high-grade brain tumors. Recent developments in targeted chemotherapy provide novel treatment options for patients with tumor recurrence. Primary care physicians play an important role in the perioperative and supportive treatment of patients with primary brain tumors, including palliative care and symptom control.
Antiepileptic Drug Level Monitoring - FPIN's Clinical Inquiries
Management of Seizures and Epilepsy - Article
ABSTRACT: While the evaluation and treatment of patients with seizures or epilepsy is often challenging, modern therapy provides many patients with complete seizure control. After a first seizure, evaluation should focus on excluding an underlying neurologic or medical condition, assessing the relative risk of seizure recurrence and determining whether treatment is indicated. Successful management of patients with recurrent seizures begins with the establishment of an accurate diagnosis of epilepsy syndrome followed by treatment using an appropriate medication in a manner that optimizes efficacy. The goal of therapy is to completely control seizures without producing unacceptable medication side effects. Patients who do not achieve complete seizure control should be referred to an epilepsy specialist, since new medications and surgical treatments offer patients unprecedented options in seizure control.
Evaluation of First Nonfebrile Seizures - Article
ABSTRACT: Nonfebrile seizures may indicate underlying disease or epilepsy. The patient history can often distinguish epileptic seizures from nonepileptic disorders by identifying the events directly preceding the convulsion, associated conditions, and details of the seizure, including triggers, length, and type of movements. Laboratory testing, lumbar puncture, and neuroimaging may be indicated depending on the presentation, suspected etiology, and patient’s age. Electroencephalography should be performed 24 to 48 hours after a first seizure because of its substantial yield and ability to predict recurrence. Neuroimaging is recommended for adults, infants, and children who have cognitive or motor developmental delay or a focal seizure. Neuroimaging may be scheduled on an outpatient basis for patients with stable vital signs who are awake and have returned to neurologic baseline. Emergent neuroimaging should be performed in patients with persistent decreased mental status or a new focal neurologic abnormality. Although magnetic resonance imaging is generally preferred to head computed tomography because of its greater sensitivity for intracranial pathology, computed tomography should be performed if intracranial bleeding is suspected because of recent head trauma, coagulopathy, or severe headache. Treatment with an antiepileptic drug after a first seizure does not prevent epilepsy in the long term, but it decreases the short-term likelihood of a second seizure. Adults with an unremarkable neurologic examination, no comorbidities, and no known structural brain disease who have returned to neurologic baseline do not need to be started on antiepileptic therapy. Treatment decisions should weigh the benefit of decreased short-term risk of recurrence against the potential adverse effects of antiepileptic drugs.