Seizures are a frequent reason for admission to emergency departments and require early, precise diagnosis and treatment. The objective of this study was to describe the clinical and prognostic characteristics of a series of patients with seizures attended at our hospital’s emergency department.
We performed a retrospective, observational study of all patients with seizures who were admitted to our hospital’s emergency department and attended by the on-call neurology service between February and August 2017.
We included 153 patients, representing 9.9% of all neurological emergency department admissions. The median age was 58 years, 52.3% of patients were women, and 51% had history of epilepsy. Onset was focal in 82.4% of cases, and the most frequent aetiology was cerebrovascular disease (24.2%). Twelve patients (7.8%) developed status epilepticus, which was associated with higher scores on the ADAN scale (P < .001) and with history of refractory epilepsy (P = .002). The in-hospital mortality rate was 3.7%, and in-hospital mortality was associated with older age (P = .049) and status epilepticus (P = .018). Eighty percent of patients with no history of epilepsy were diagnosed with epilepsy at the emergency department; all started treatment. The kappa coefficient for epilepsy diagnosis in the emergency department compared to diagnosis after one year of follow-up by the epilepsy unit was 0.45 (diagnosis was modified in 20% of patients).
Seizures are a frequent neurological emergency with potential complications and considerable morbidity and mortality rates. In patients with no known history of epilepsy, the condition may be diagnosed in the emergency department, but follow-up at specialised epilepsy units is recommended.

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