Prognostic factors in the occurrence of posttraumatic epilepsy after penetrating head injury suffered during military service.

Research paper by B B Aarabi, M M Taghipour, A A Haghnegahdar, M M Farokhi, L L Mobley

Indexed on: 16 Aug '06Published on: 16 Aug '06Published in: Neurosurgical focus


In this retrospective study, the authors evaluated confounding risk factors, which are allegedly influential in causing unprovoked posttraumatic epilepsy, in 489 patients from the frontlines of the Iran-Iraq War. Four hundred eighty-nine patients were followed for 6 to154 months (mean 39.4 months, median 23 months), and important factors precipitating posttraumatic epilepsy were evaluated using uni- and multivariate regression analysis. One hundred fifty-seven (32%) of 489 patients became epileptic during the study period. The results of univariate analysis indicated a significant relationship between epilepsy and Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) score (X2 = 76.49, p < 0.0001, df = 2), Glasgow Coma Scale score at admission (X2 = 19.48, p < 0.0001, df = 3), motor deficit (X2 = 11.79, p < 0.001, df = 1), mode of injury (X2 = 10.731, p < 0.05), transventricular injury (X2 = 6.9, p < 0.008, df = 1), dysphasia (X2 = 5.3, p < 0.02), central nervous system infections (X2 = 5.3, p < 0.02), and early-onset seizures (X2 = 4.1, p < 0.04, df = 1). The results of multivariate analysis, on the other hand, indicated that the GOS score and motor deficit were of greater statistical importance (X2 = 35.24, p < 0.0001; and X2 = 7.1, p < 0.07, respectively). Factors that did have much statistically significant bearing on posttraumatic epilepsy were the projectile type, site of injury on the skull, patient age, number of affected lobes, related hemorrhagic complications, and retained metallic or bone fragments. Glasgow Outcome Scale score and focal motor neurological deficit are of particular importance in predicting posttraumatic epilepsy after missile head injury.