Seizures are a common medical problem. Most seizures are short and stop by themselves, but those that don’t stop in seconds or minutes are a dangerous life-threatening medical emergency. These prolonged seizures, also called status epilepticus, occur when there is a sudden and long disruption of the brain’s normal electrical activity. They can often cause unconsciousness, and jerking and twitching movements.
Status Epilepticus is a true emergency associated with significant disability and death. It has been estimated that there are between 120,000 and 200,000 cases of status epilepticus in this country each year resulting in as many as 55,000 deaths. Complications of prolonged seizures may include trouble breathing, abnormal heart rhythm, altered level of consciousnous, and injury to the brain or nervous system
Paramedics often have medications that can stop these seizures, but the best way to give them is not known. Many paramedics start an IV (a small tube in the vein) to give medicine directly into a vein. This works well, but is hard to do in a person who is seizing. It can also take some time and delay treatment. Another way to give the medicine is as a shot given into a muscle. Giving the medicine this way is faster, but may not stop the seizure as quickly.