Alzheimer's disease is a known risk factor for seizures, and age older than 60 years is a recognized risk factor for poor outcome from convulsive and nonconvulsive status epilepticus. The authors suspect that there may be a causal relationship between dementia pathology and the development and maintenance of refractory seizures. They report two selected patients with complex partial status epilepticus whose presentation and clinical course provide partial support for this hypothesis. Their methods include case reports with clinical, EEG, imaging, and pathologic correlations. The patients were 70 and 85 years of age. Both had central and peripheral brain atrophy on imaging studies (with some regions that were affected more than others), left temporal seizure foci corresponding to areas of greatest cortical atrophy, and early presentation with inhibitory epileptic symptoms (aphasia), with evolution to complex partial status epilepticus. Pathologic confirmation of Alzheimer's disease was obtained in one patient who had not been diagnosed previously. It involved maximally the cortex underlying the seizure focus. A diagnosis of probable Alzheimer's disease was established in the other patient. Alzheimer's disease may be causal in some cases of complex partial status epilepticus. Additional observations in support of this hypothesis are needed.
- Alzheimer's disease
- Complex partial status epilepticus
- Cortical atrophy