Purpose: Status epilepticus (SE) appears to cause cognitive dysfunction as well as other serious neurologic sequelae. To confirm whether SE produces a subsequent intellectual decline, we evaluated intellectual function prospectively in adult epilepsy patients with and without SE.
Methods: Of 1,685 patients with epilepsy who underwent comprehensive neuropsychological testing in two national hospitals in Japan, 15 patients experienced an episode of SE afterward and underwent the second neuropsychological examination after the SE episode. Forty clinically matched patients with epilepsy, but without an episode of SE since their initial neuropsychological examination, were also reevaluated. We compared IQs and subscores from the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised between the two groups by repeated measures analysis of variance. In the patients who experienced an SE episode, SE-related variables (i.e., age at the SE episode and type and duration of SE) and epilepsy-related variables such as epilepsy type, lateralization of EEG abnormalities, the presence of mesial temporal sclerosis, and previous history of SE, were evaluated in relation to intellectual outcome.
Results: Patients with SE, in comparison to those without SE, failed to show any significant post-SE intellectual decline. Furthermore, neither the SE-related variables nor the clinical characteristics were correlated with intellectual outcome.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that SE does not lead to a significant intellectual decline in adult patients receiving treatment for epilepsy.