Seizures in the ICU – Part 1
Approximately 3% of adult patients who are admitted to an intensive care unit for non-neurological conditions develop seizures. Although seizures have been well described since the time of Hippocrates, their relatively high incidence in the critically ill population has been described only over the last twenty years.
The causes of seizures in the ICU are varied. Some patients have a past seizure history and are at risk for reactivation of their disease. Certain antibiotics such as imipenem and penicillin cause an increased risk of seizures, especially in patients with renal failure. Transplant patients receiving cyclosporine have an increased risk. Patients with nonketotic hyperglycemia have an unusually high risk of developing partial seizures. Perhaps the classic ICU condition associated with seizures are patients who are suffering from delirium tremens from alcohol withdrawal.
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