Hypothermia for pediatric refractory status epilepticus

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Refractory status epilepticus (RSE) is a life-threatening emergency, demonstrating, by definition, significant pharmacoresistance. We describe five cases of pediatric RSE treated with mild hypothermia.


Retrospective chart review was performed of records of children who received hypothermia for RSE at two tertiary-care pediatric hospitals between 2009 and 2012.

Key Findings

Five children with RSE received mild hypothermia (32–35°C). Hypothermia reduced seizure burden during and after treatment in all cases. Prior to initiation of hypothermia, four children (80%) received pentobarbital infusions to treat RSE, but relapsed after pentobarbital discontinuation. No child relapsed after treatment with hypothermia. One child died after redirection of care. Remaining four children were discharged.


This is the largest pediatric case series reporting treatment of RSE with mild hypothermia. Hypothermia decreased seizure burden during and after pediatric RSE and may prevent RSE relapse.

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