Claustrum damage and refractory status epilepticus following febrile illness

Stefano Meletti, Jana Slonkova, Iva Mareckova, Giulia Monti, Nicola Specchio, Petr Hon, Giada Giovannini, Vaclav Marcian, Annalisa Chiari, Petr Krupa, Nicola Pietrafusa, Dagmar Berankova, Michal Bar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To characterize the clinical, EEG, and brain imaging findings in an adult case series of patients with de novo refractory status epilepticus (SE) occurring after a febrile illness. Methods: A retrospective study (2010-2013) was undertaken with the following inclusion criteria: (1) previously healthy adults with refractory SE; (2) seizure onset 0-21 days after a febrile illness; (3) lacking evidence of infectious agents in CSF; (4) no history of seizures (febrile or afebrile) or previous or concomitant neurologic disorder. Results: Among 155 refractory SE cases observed in the study period, 6 patients (17-35 years old) fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Confusion and stupor were the most common symptoms at disease onset, followed after a few days by acute repeated seizures that were uncountable in all but one. Seizures consisted of focal motor/myoclonic phenomena with subsequent generalization. Antiepileptic drugs failed in every patient to control seizures, with all participants requiring intensive care unit admission. Barbiturate coma with burst-suppression pattern was applied in 4 out of 6 patients for 5-14 days. One participant died in the acute phase. In each patient, we observed a reversible bilateral claustrum MRI hyperintensity on T2-weighted sequences, without restricted diffusion, time-related with SE. All patients had negative multiple neural antibodies testing. Four out of 5 surviving patients developed chronic epilepsy. Conclusions: This is a hypothesis-generating study of a preliminary nature supporting the role of the claustrum in postfebrile de novo SE; future prospective studies are needed to delineate the specificity of this condition, its pathogenesis, and the etiology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1224-1232
Number of pages9
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Oct 6 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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