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Risk of adverse events on epilepsy monitoring units: a survey of epilepsy professionals.

Shafer PO, Buelow J, Ficker DM, Pugh MJ, Kanner AM, Dean P, Levisohn P. Risk of adverse events on epilepsy monitoring units: a survey of epilepsy professionals. Epilepsy & Behavior : E&B. 2011 Mar 1; 20(3):502-5.

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In 2008 a workgroup of health care professionals from the American Epilepsy Society (AES) was convened to address the lack of consensus regarding patient care in epilepsy monitoring units (EMUs). The group developed a questionnaire designed to identify the extent to which selected adverse events occurred in EMUs, and it was sent via email to all members of the AES. We asked that only one representative from each center report. Seventy responses were received. The number of centers reporting the following adverse events included: falls by 69%, status epilepticus by 63%, and postictal psychosis by 54%. Infrequent events with serious consequences were also reported including pneumonia by 10%, cardiac arrest by 7%, fractures by 6%, and death by 3% (N = 2). Of the 58 respondents who reported using intracranial electrodes, 37.9% (N = 22) reported that patients pulled out or dislodged electrodes. This study highlights the need for EMUs to identify and address potential safety risks in their environment, patient population, and system of care.

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