NEJM – Hypothermia for Neuroprotection in Convulsive Status Epilepticus

Stephane Legriel, M.D., et al, for the HYBERNATUS Study Group* N Engl J Med 2016; 375:2457-2467

BACKGROUND

Convulsive status epilepticus often results in permanent neurologic impairment. We evaluated the effect of induced hypothermia on neurologic outcomes in patients with convulsive status epilepticus.

METHODS

In a multicenter trial, we randomly assigned 270 critically ill patients with convulsive status epilepticus who were receiving mechanical ventilation to hypothermia (32 to 34°C for 24 hours) in addition to standard care or to standard care alone; 268 patients were included in the analysis. The primary outcome was a good functional outcome at 90 days, defined as a Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) score of 5 (range, 1 to 5, with 1 representing death and 5 representing no or minimal neurologic deficit). The main secondary outcomes were mortality at 90 days, progression to electroencephalographically (EEG) confirmed status epilepticus, refractory status epilepticus on day 1, “super-refractory” status epilepticus (resistant to general anesthesia), and functional sequelae on day 90.

RESULTS

A GOS score of 5 occurred in 67 of 138 patients (49%) in the hypothermia group and in 56 of 130 (43%) in the control group (adjusted common odds ratio, 1.22; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.75 to 1.99; P=0.43). The rate of progression to EEG-confirmed status epilepticus on the first day was lower in the hypothermia group than in the control group (11% vs. 22%; odds ratio, 0.40; 95% CI, 0.20 to 0.79; P=0.009), but there were no significant differences between groups in the other secondary outcomes. Adverse events were more frequent in the hypothermia group than in the control group.

CONCLUSIONS
In this trial, induced hypothermia added to standard care was not associated with significantly better 90-day outcomes than standard care alone in patients with convulsive status epilepticus. (Funded by the French Ministry of Health; HYBERNATUS ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01359332.)

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