Non-convulsive status epilepticus (NCSE) is a potentially treatable condition that poses considerable diagnostic challenges. NCSE is thought to be more common in the elderly than in the general population, however additional diagnostic challenges complicate its recognition in older patients, because of the wide differential diagnosis with common underlying causes of acute confusional state in this age group. We set out to review the existing evidence on the clinical correlates of NCSE in the elderly population. A systematic literature review was conducted according to the methodological standards outlined in the PRISMA statement to assess the clinical correlates of NCSE in patients aged 60 or older. Our literature search identified 11 relevant studies, which confirmed that the incidence of NCSE increases with age, in particular with regard to focal forms with impairment of consciousness. Female gender, history of epilepsy (or a recently witnessed seizure with motor features), and abnormal ocular movements appeared to correlate with the diagnosis of NCSE in the elderly, prompting prioritization of electroencephalography tests for diagnostic confirmation. Epidemiological data in the elderly vary widely because of the heterogeneity of definitions and diagnostic criteria applied across different studies. Based on our findings, it is recommended to keep a low threshold for requesting electroencephalography tests to confirm the diagnosis of NCSE in elderly patients with acute confusional state, even in the presence of a presumed symptomatic cause.
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- Acute confusional state
- Non-convulsive status epilepticus