Objective: To study the prevalence of, and identify possible risk factors for, the development of post-traumatic epilepsy in a cohort of children with severe head injury treated in an inpatient rehabilitation unit.
Methods: The hospital and community medical case notes of all children admitted prospectively to the unit and the records of the clinical EEG department over a seven year period were reviewed to identify those children who had developed late epilepsy after head injuries.
Results: 102 children received inpatient rehabilitation between 1 June 1991 and 28 February 1998. Follow up of these patients ranged from 18 months to over eight years. Nine patients (9%) developed post-traumatic epilepsy between eight months and over five years after the head injury. Three of the nine patients had experienced early tonic–clonic seizures in the first week after the injury. Other risk factors examined included the age of the patient, the cause of the head injury, initial Glasgow coma scale score, neuroimaging findings, and duration of ventilatory support. Only the presence of early seizures (p = 0.002) and possibly the Glasgow coma scale score (p = 0.043) were found to be specific risk factors for late late epilepsy.
Conclusions: Post-traumatic epilepsy appears to be uncommon, even in children with severe head injuries. Early seizures may indicate increased risk of developing late post-traumatic epilepsy in this study population.
- head injury
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