Injuries in adolescents with childhood-onset epilepsy compared with sibling controls

Christine B. Baca, Barbara G. Vickrey, Stefanie D. Vassar, Aaron Cook, Anne T. Berg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objective To compare the occurrence of injuries in adolescents with childhood-onset epilepsy and matched sibling controls. Study design Retrospective case-control lifetime injury assessments were obtained from a community-based cohort of adolescents with childhood-onset epilepsy diagnosed 9 years earlier and their siblings. The children with epilepsy (n = 501; mean age, 15.3 years) included those with complicated (abnormal neurologic examination or IQ <80; n = 133) and uncomplicated (normal neurologic examination and IQ ≥80; n = 368) epilepsy. Children with uncomplicated epilepsy were matched to sibling controls (n = 210 pairs). The children reported whether or not they had ever (before and after epilepsy diagnosis) experienced injuries "serious enough to require medical attention" and if so, the type of treatment required. Results Almost one-half (49.1%) of the children with epilepsy experienced injury, of whom 8.9% required surgery/hospitalization and 17.1% had injury related to a seizure. Fewer children with uncomplicated epilepsy had seizure-related injuries versus those with complicated epilepsy (13.6% vs 27.4%; P ≤.01). The proportion of children with epilepsy with any injury by type (not mutually exclusive) were: 25.2% with fractures (n = 126); 24.4% with head injuries (n = 122); 10.2% with other injuries (n = 51); 8.4% with dental injuries (n = 42); and 8% with burns/scalds (n = 40). A similar proportion of children with uncomplicated epilepsy experienced any injury (overall and by type) compared to matched sibling controls, with the exception that more children with uncomplicated epilepsy had head injuries (30.0% vs 19.5%; P <.02). Conclusion With the exception of head injuries, we found no evidence of an increased risk of injury in a representative cohort of children with epilepsy compared with matched sibling controls. This finding may reflect the fact that the sample was not biased to more severe cases, or that safety precautions to prevent injury were widely used.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1684-1691.e4
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


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