Correlates of posttraumatic epilepsy 35 years following combat brain injury

V. Raymont, A. M. Salazar, R. Lipsky, D. Goldman, G. Tasick, J. Grafman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: The Vietnam Head Injury Study (VHIS) is a prospective, longitudinal follow-up of 1,221 Vietnam War veterans with mostly penetrating head injuries (PHIs). The high prevalence (45%-53%) of posttraumatic epilepsy (PTE) in this unique cohort makes it valuable for study. Methods: A standardized multidisciplinary neurologic, cognitive, behavioral, and brain imaging evaluation was conducted on 199 VHIS veterans plus uninjured controls, some 30 to 35 years after injury, as part of phase 3 of this study. Results: The prevalence of seizures (87 patients, 43.7%) was similar to that found during phase 2 evaluations 20 years earlier, but 11 of 87 (12.6%) reported very late onset of PTE after phase 2 (more than 14 years after injury). Those patients were not different from patients with earlier-onset PTE in any of the measures studied. Within the phase 3 cohort, the most common seizure type last experienced was complex partial seizures (31.0%), with increasing frequency after injury. Of subjects with PTE, 88% were receiving anticonvulsants. Left parietal lobe lesions and retained ferric metal fragments were associated with PTE in a logistic regression model. Total brain volume loss predicted seizure frequency. Conclusions: Patients with PHI carry a high risk of PTE decades after their injury, and so require long-term medical follow-up. Lesion location, lesion size, and lesion type were predictors of PTE.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-229
Number of pages6
JournalNeurology
Volume75
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2010

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