Wed, Oct 19, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Success hailed as world first in epilepsy treatment

CRITICAL CASE:Physician Lee Ching-yi said that status epilepticus requires swift treatment because delays can lead to brain damage, organ dysfunction, or death

By Lee I-chia  /  Staff reporter

A 17-year-old girl with status epilepticus was treated at Linkou Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, which yesterday said that the medical team performed thalamic deep-brain stimulation to treat the life-threatening neurological disorder and became the first in the world to successfully treat the condition.

The girl, surnamed Lin (林), was discharged after a relatively short stay, the hospital said.

Lin began experiencing repeated nodding and loss of consciousness when she was 12 years old.

She was diagnosed with juvenile absence epilepsy after she was taken in for treatment following a seizure.

However, Lin’s condition worsened this year and she developed status epilepticus, a condition characterized by continuous seizures for five minutes or longer without a return of consciousness, or recurrent seizures without an intervening period of neurological recovery.

Tony Wu (吳禹利), head of the hospital’s Department of Neurology, said the prevalence of epilepsy in Taiwan is about 0.6 percent, with nearly 140,000 patients estimated nationwide.

The majority of patients can control the condition with medication, but about 30 percent cannot, Wu said.

Neurosurgeon Lee Ching-yi (李靜宜), who treated Lin, said status epilepticus requires emergency treatment because delays can lead to permanent brain damage, multiple organ dysfunction, or even death.

Ten percent to 30 percent of such patients die within a month, Lee said.

After gaining consent from her family, the surgical team performed deep brain stimulation of Lin’s anterior thalamic nucleus.

Lee said that Lin’s condition improved significantly after the procedure was completed and she was able to walk, talk and respond to people.

She was discharged from the hospital about a month after the surgery, marking the first successful treatment of status epilepticus using the procedure, Lee said.

Wu said the team has submitted an article about the case to World Neurosurgery, a medical journal.

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