Accidents in patients with epilepsy: Types, circumstances, and complications: A European cohort study

Mariska van den Broek, Ettore Beghi, C. M. Cornaggia, M. Beghi, G. Bogliun, E. Fiordelli, L. Airoldi, B. Frigeni, A. Mascarini, L. Mapelli, L. Moltrasio, E. Biagi, W. A. Hauser, J. N. Loeber, R. Thorbecke, P. Di Viesti, M. Zarrelli, F. Apollo, S. Giovanni Rotondo, E. SteuernagelP. Wolf, A. E H Sonnen, L. M. Specchio, N. Specchio, E. Boati, C. A. Defanti, P. Pinto, E. Breviario, M. P. Pasolini, L. Antonini, U. Aguglia, C. Russo, A. Gambardella, S. Giubergia, P. Zagnoni, M. Cosottini, G. Zaccara, F. Pisani, G. Oteri, C. E. Cavestro, A. David, C. Tonini, G. Avanzini, F. Arienti, A. Tartara, R. Manni, G. Castelnovo, R. Murelli, C. A. Galimberti, N. Zanotta, U. Runge, M. C T F M deKrom, C. vanHeijden, J. Griet, M. W C van denBroek, S. W. Brown, H. Coyle, Nr Alderley Edge, J. M. Lopes-Lima, P. Beleza, E. Ferreira, T. Talvik, A. Beilmann, E. Belousova, M. Nikanorowa, I. M. Ravnik, T. Levart, N. Zupancic, S. Gromov, L. V. Lipatova, V. Mikhailov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To investigate the risk of accidents in a cohort of patients with epilepsy and in matched nonepilepsy controls, by type, circumstances, and complications. Methods: A total of 951 children and adults with idiopathic, cryptogenic, or remote symptomatic epilepsy and 904 matched controls seen in secondary and tertiary centers in eight European countries (England, Estonia, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, and Slovenia) were followed up prospectively for 17,484 and 17,206 person-months and asked to report any accident requiring medical attention, its site, and complications. Risk assessment was done by using actuarial methods, relative risks (RRs), and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Results: During the study period, 199 (21%) patients and 123 (14%) controls reported an accident (p <0.0001); 24% were seizure related. The cumulative probability of accidents at 12 and 24 months was 17 and 27% in the cases and 12 and 17% in the controls. The risk was highest for concussions (RR, 2.6; 9.5% CI, 1.2-5.8), abrasions (RR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.1-4.0), and wounds (RR, 1.9; CI, 1.2-3.1). Domestic accidents prevailed in both groups, followed by street and work accidents, and were more common among cases. Compared with controls, patients with epilepsy reported more hospitalization, complications, and medical action. Disease characteristics associated with an increased risk of accidents included generalized epilepsy (concussions), active epilepsy, and at least monthly seizures (abrasions). Most risks decreased, becoming nonsignificant after excluding seizure-related events. Conclusions: Patients with epilepsy are at higher risk of accidents and their complications. However, the risk was substantially lower after exclusion of seizure-related events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-672
Number of pages6
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2004


  • Accidents
  • Epilepsy
  • Injuries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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