Feasibility Study Evaluating Therapeutic Hypothermia for Refractory Status Epilepticus in Children

Sandra D W Buttram, Alicia K. Au, Joshua Koch, Karen Lidsky, Kristin McBain, Nicole O'Brien, Brandon A. Zielinski, Michael J. Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Pediatric refractory status epilepticus (RSE) is a neurological emergency with significant morbidity and mortality, which lacks consensus regarding diagnosis and treatment(s). Therapeutic hypothermia (TH) is an effective treatment for RSE in preclinical models and small series. In addition, TH is a standard care for adults after cardiac arrest and neonates with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. The purpose of this study was to identify the feasibility of a study of pediatric RSE within a research group (Pediatric Neurocritical Care Research Group [PNCRG]). Pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) admissions at seven centers were prospectively screened from October 2012 to July 2013 for RSE. Experts within the PNCRG estimated that clinicians would be unwilling to enroll a child, unless the child required at least two different antiepileptic medications and a continuous infusion of another antiepileptic medication with ongoing electrographic seizure activity for ≥2 hours after continuous infusion initiation. Data for children meeting the above inclusion criteria were collected, including the etiology of RSE, history of epilepsy, and maximum dose of continuous antiepileptic infusions. There were 8113 PICU admissions over a cumulative 52 months (October 2012-July 2013) at seven centers. Of these, 69 (0.85%) children met inclusion criteria. Twenty children were excluded due to acute diagnoses affected by TH, contraindications to TH, or lack of commitment to aggressive therapies. Sixteen patients had seizure cessation within 2 hours, resulting in 33 patients who had inadequate seizure control after 2 hours and a continuous antiepileptic infusion. Midazolam (21/33, 64%) and pentobarbital (5/33, 15%) were the most common infusions with a wide maximum dose range. More than one infusion was required for seizure control in four patients. There are substantial numbers of subjects at clinical sites within the PNCRG with RSE that would meet the proposed inclusion criteria for a study of TH. The true feasibility of such a study depends on the sample size necessary to achieve therapeutic effects on justifiable clinical outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-202
Number of pages5
JournalTherapeutic hypothermia and temperature management
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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