Diagnosis and treatment of status epilepticus in Down Syndrome (DS): A case report and systematic literature review

Seizure. 2024 Jan:114:90-95. doi: 10.1016/j.seizure.2023.11.009. Epub 2023 Nov 20.


Introduction: Epilepsy is one of the most frequent neurological comorbidities in patients with Down Syndrome (DS). Young patients and adults are the most affected, the latter mostly showing a phenotype labeled as "Late-onset myoclonic epilepsy" (LOMEDS). Status epilepticus (SE) is a life-threatening complication in patients with epilepsy. In this study, we described a non-convulsive SE (NCSE) case in a patient diagnosed with LOMEDS. We also performed a systematic review of the literature on SE diagnosis and treatment in patients with Down Syndrome.

Methods: Clinical and demographic characteristics of a DS patient diagnosed with NCSE were described. The systematic literature search dissected the diagnostic and therapeutic management of SE in patients with DS. The following databases were used: PubMed, EMBASE, and Google Scholar.

Results: 5 DS individuals (4 from the past literature + 1 novel case report) with SE have been identified. The median age at SE onset was 42 years (IQR: 21-60.5 years). The most common SE type was myoclonic SE (MSE), followed by NCSE. Two cases of acute symptomatic etiology were described, whereas a progressive symptomatic etiology was otherwise reported. Ictal EEG recording information was available in two patients who showed generalized spike waves and polyspike and wave discharges. In 3 cases, SE was treated with intravenous antiseizure medications that produced a complete resolution.

Conclusion: SE may represent a rare complication in patients with DS. Although no definitive conclusions may be achieved due to the lack of evidence, treatment with valproic acid seems effective, especially in MSE. NCSE management is more challenging. It requires low doses of anesthetics, which should be used cautiously due to the high rate of complications.

Keywords: Cognitive impairment; Down Syndrome; Epilepsy; Status epilepticus; Treatment.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Down Syndrome* / complications
  • Down Syndrome* / drug therapy
  • Electroencephalography / adverse effects
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Status Epilepticus* / diagnosis
  • Status Epilepticus* / drug therapy
  • Status Epilepticus* / etiology
  • Valproic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Young Adult


  • Valproic Acid