Western Health - Neurology, Victoria, Australia
Altered mental state is a very common presentation in the elderly admitted to the emergency department. It has been determined that about 16% of patients aged 60 or older with confusion of unknown origin have non-convulsive status epilepticus. The diagnosis of non-convulsive status epilepticus is difficult in the elderly because possible aetiologies of confusion may present with the same clinical picture. Non-convulsive status epilepticus in the elderly carries major morbidity and mortality, attributable primarily to aetiology, and treatment is complex, involving treatment of the aetiology and concomitant medical illnesses, whilst balancing the side effects and drug interactions of antiepileptic drugs.