Management of breakthrough seizures in the emergency department: Continuity of patient care

Georgia D. Montouris, Andy S. Jagoda

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Epilepsy is a chronic disorder requiring long-term management. Communication between emergency physicians, neurologists, and primary care physicians (PCPs) is especially critical for the continuity of care for patients who present in an emergency department (ED) with a breakthrough seizure. Therefore, maximizing communication between the emergency physician and the PCP is of the utmost importance. The emergency physician, who is on the front line, must gather the information necessary to identify the underlying cause of the seizure and decide whether the pharmaceutical management must be changed. Scope: This paper provides a clinical commentary on issues to consider when managing breakthrough seizures in the ED, to inform and facilitate communication between emergency physicians, consulting neurologists, and PCPs. Conclusions: Clinical management decisions, especially when considering adjustment in an antiepileptic drug (AED) regimen, are often best made in coordination with a consulting neurologist. Increasing emergency physicians' comfort level regarding the use of newer-generation AEDs can improve the dialogue between me emergency physician and neurologist and the dialogue with the patient. Understanding the risks and benefits of tne newer AEDs will assist the emergency physician in clinical decision making and, it is hoped, improve clinical outcomes. To preserve continuity of patient care, a patient's treating physician should be notified of all the particulars of the ED visit, and an appointment should be scheduled at the time of discharge for follow-up evaluation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1583-1592
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Medical Research and Opinion
Volume23
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2007

Keywords

  • Anticonvulsants
  • Continuity of patient care
  • Emergency service
  • Epilepsy
  • Hospital
  • Referral and consultation

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