The following article is part of coverage from the American Academy of Neurology’s Annual Meeting (AAN 2020). Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Academy made the necessary decision to cancel the meeting originally scheduled for April 25–May 1, 2020, in Toronto. While live events will not proceed as planned, readers can click here catch up on the latest research intended to be presented at the meeting.

Individuals with vs those without status epilepticus were found to have a greater prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors and a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, according to study results intended to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN 2020).

The presence of status epilepticus has been associated with a greater risk for sudden unexpected death in people with epilepsy. In this study, adults (aged, 18-65 years) with epilepsy or seizure disorders, with or without status epilepticus, but without cardiac arrest, ischemic heart disease or cerebrovascular disease, were identified from electronic medical records of > 60 million patients across the United States. In this population, a total of 337,570 individuals had a diagnosis of epilepsy or seizure disorders, of whom, 12,310 had comorbid status epilepticus.

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In this cohort, patients with vs without status epilepticus had a higher prevalence of: cardiovascular risk factors (eg, hypertension; 7.7% vs 4.0%, respectively; P <.001); diabetes mellitus (13.2% vs 7.0%, respectively; P <.001); and tobacco use (28.4% vs 14.5%, respectively; P <.001). In addition, patients with vs those without status epilepticus were found to be more likely to develop ventricular tachycardia (odds ratio [OR], 5.82; 95% CI, 4.86-6.97), atrial fibrillation (OR, 3.24; 95% CI, 2.90-3.62; P <.001), heart failure (OR, 4.66; 95% CI, 4.25-5.12; P <.001), atrioventricular block (OR, 5.45; 95% CI, 4.53-6.60; P <.001), and cardiogenic shock (OR, 8.73; 95% CI, 5.62-13.5; P <.001).

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“Underlying cardiovascular disease may contribute to [sudden unexpected death in epilepsy] in patients with [status epilepticus],” noted the study authors. “The utility of cardiovascular screening in patients with [status epilepticus] needs to be investigated.”


Kubota T, Tsushima T, Fernandez-Baca Vaca G. Association between status epilepticus and cardiovascular risk. Intended to be presented at the 2020 annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology. Abstract S59.001.

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