May 19 2008
Seizures may be a sign of significant brain injury, and may occur in patients that experience any type of stroke. A new study finds that stroke patients with ensuing seizures are more likely to die in the 30 days following stroke than patients without seizures. The findings show a mortality rate of over 30 percent at thirty days after stroke.
The study, to be published in the June issue of Epilepsia, finds that the overall incidence of seizures within 24 hours of an acute stroke is 3.1 percent. Patients with intracranial hemorrhages (bleeding within the brain), have an even higher incidence of seizures - 8.4 percent - in the first 24 hours after stroke.
Cerebrovascular diseases, including strokes, have long been recognized as a risk factor for the development of epilepsy, particularly in elderly populations. However, the incidence of seizures within 24 hours of stroke has not been studied extensively.
The authors also aimed to establish any racial differences in the incidence of these post-stroke seizures. They found that, despite the fact that blacks are known to have higher prevalence rates of both seizures and strokes (especially in younger age groups), there were no racial differences in seizure incidence or mortality rates in the studied population.
"Patients with seizures in the setting of an acute stroke may constitute a target population for the development of drugs that may prevent seizures," says Dr. Jerzy P. Szaflarski, lead author of the study. "Because patients with stroke have high incidence of immediate and long-term seizures and epilepsy, they constitute a population where seizure prevention with anti-epileptic drugs can be studied."