A survey of healthcare providers concerning the initial diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy has found significant misinformation held among physicians who see children who have seizures. Many physicians surveyed are misinformed about what constitutes intractable epilepsy, when to refer their pediatric patients for surgical evaluation, and what types of seizures may be amenable to surgical intervention.
A number of best practice guidelines for the care of epilepsy patients, including guidance in the care of pediatric patients who have seizures, have recently been developed and/or updated and promulgated by the leading national and international medical specialty organizations concerned with epilepsy. The survey of providers was carried out to assess concordance between current best practice guidelines and clinical practice for epilepsy in pediatrics. (Abstracts #1.342 & #1.343)
In addition to misinformation pertaining to surgery, knowledge concerning diagnosis and drug management in pediatric patients was also marked by important gaps. There was agreement in general about obtaining an EEG and CT or MRI brain image. But respondents were significantly less informed about when or after how many seizures anticonvulsant drug (AED) therapy should be initiated. Those surveyed were equally as misinformed about how many AED failures should be allowed before another therapeutic mode should be considered.