• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Device may help stop seizures at home

June 13, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Every two minutes, someone in the U.S. dies from a neurological emergency, such as a seizure.

Seizures come on suddenly, affecting 1 in 100 people, or 2.5 million Americans.

Delmetria Grant is one of them. She began having seizures more than a decade ago.

"It's frightening because you don't know what's going to happen, when it's going to happen," Grant said.

While most don't last longer than a minute, those with prolonged seizures are at risk brain damage and death.

"So we know that the faster we can administer some treatment for them, the more likely that person is to stop seizing and to recover from that," said Dr. Tricia Ting, an assistant professor of neurology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Ting said the current standard of care for patients is through an IV.

"But you can imagine how difficult it is when they are trying to access an IV in someone that may be convulsing and moving their arm around," Ting said.

That's why the doctor and her team at the University of Maryland School of Medicine participated in a national trial to test a new auto-injector. It's similar to the EpiPen used to treat serious allergic reactions. Results from the National Institutes of Health study show 73 percent of patients who received injected seizure medicine were seizure-free when they got to the hospital, versus 63 percent of patients who received IV treatment.

"This is a proven therapy to work to stop seizures that are prolonged and dangerous," Ting said.

Ting says it's only a matter of time before the auto-injectors are in the hands of patients and their families to stop seizures even sooner. About 55,000 deaths are attributed to prolonged seizures. While it might take a while until an auto-injector is approved for caregivers, paramedics can use the auto-injector right now.

Load Comments