Purpose: To assess the risk of illnesses and accidents in patients with epilepsy and to evaluate the proportion of those risks attributable to epilepsy. Methods: Nine hundred fifty-one referral patients with idiopathic, cryptogenic, or remote symptomatic epilepsy and 909 matched controls (relatives or friends) were followed up prospectively for 1-2 years in eight European countries (Italy, Germany, Holland, England, Portugal, Russia, Estonia, and Slovenia). Each patient and control received a diary to keep notes regarding any illness or accident. Patients with epilepsy specifically recorded relations with seizures. Results: Six hundred forty-four patients recorded 2,491 illnesses compared with 1,665 illnesses in 508 controls. The cumulative probability of illness in patients was 49% by 12 months and 86% by 24 months (controls, 39 and 75%; p <0.0001). One hundred ninety-nine patients and 124 controls had 270 and 140 accidents, respectively. The cumulative probability of accident in the cases was 17 and 27% by 12 and 24 months (controls, 12 and 17%; p <0.0001). The chance of two or more illnesses or accidents was modestly but significantly greater in the patients. Illnesses and accidents were mostly trivial. Thirty percent of illnesses and 24% of accidents were seizure related. When illnesses and accidents related to seizures were excluded, the chance of illnesses and accidents was fairly similar in the two groups. Conclusions: Patients with idiopathic, cryptogenic, or remote symptomatic epilepsy have a moderately higher risk of illnesses and accidents than do the general population. With few exceptions, the events are trivial. When seizure-related events are excluded, patients with epilepsy are not at any significantly higher risk of illnesses and accidents.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology