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Developing seizures after stroke may increase risk of death, disability

Human Brain

Seizures may be linked to a higher risk of death or disability in adults who have had a severe ischemic stroke, according to preliminary research to be presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2020 – Feb. 19-21 in Los Angeles.

Ischemic stroke occurs when blood vessels leading to the brain are blocked. Seizures are abnormal brain activity that may cause uncontrollable shaking movements, loss of consciousness and confusion. Ischemic stroke patients who had seizures within seven days after their stroke were at higher risk of seizure recurrence and of being diagnosed with epilepsy.

“In the United States, stroke is the most common cause of epilepsy in adults. In Mexico, stroke is now the leading cause of epilepsy in adults as well,” said Erwin Chiquete, M.D., Ph.D., lead study author and a neurologist and researcher. “However, we suspect that seizures and epilepsy in stroke patients are still under-recognized by physicians.”

In this study, researchers identified risk factors that predict the possibility of developing seizures or epilepsy (recurring seizures) following a severe stroke, and then assessed the impact of post-stroke seizures on death or disability up to one year after stroke.

Researchers analyzed electronic medical records data of 1,246 hospital patients without epilepsy upon admission, aged 18 to 94 (85% over age 40) and treated for acute ischemic stroke in 59 centers located in Mexico.

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