Subacute encephalopathy with seizures in alcoholics (SESA syndrome) revisited

José L. Fernández-Torre, Peter W. Kaplan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Purpose The aim of this paper is to describe two additional cases of subacute encephalopathy with seizures in alcoholics (SESA syndrome), and to propose that this entity now should be considered as a subtype of nonconvulsive status epilepticus (NCSE). Methods We retrospectively analyzed the clinical characteristics, electroencephalography (EEG), neuroimaging data, and prognosis of these two further cases of SESA syndrome. In addition, we compare our findings with the cases previously described in the English literature in order to propose new diagnostic criteria. Results Two adults with history of chronic alcohol abuse were admitted because of confusion and seizures. A routine EEG showed frequent periodic lateralized epileptiform discharges (PLEDs) localized over the right temporal regions. In one case, we captured two complex partial seizures (CPSs) arising from the right hemisphere. Neuroimaging studies revealed subjacent chronic vascular pathology. Following transfer to the intensive care unit (ICU), both improved to antiepileptic treatment and were discharged with full recovery. Conclusion On the basis of our findings and a review of the literature, we suggest that SESA syndrome represents a subtype of partial or localization-related NCSE given its particular clinical, electroencephalographic, neuroimaging and prognostic characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-396
Number of pages4
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Alcoholics
  • Complex partial status epilepticus
  • Nonconvulsive status epilepticus
  • Periodic lateralized epileptiform discharges
  • SESA syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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