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June 2008 Issue

Jerzy Szaflarski, MD, PhD, and Scott Holland, PhD
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Stroke, Followed by Seizures May Lead to Death

Published June 2008

Patients who experience seizures within 24 hours of an acute stroke are more likely to die within 30 days of the stroke than patients who did not experience seizures, a study by UC researchers has found.

The study was led by Jerzy Szaflarski, MD, PhD, assistant professor of neurology at UC. It will be published in the June 2008 issue of Epilepsia.

The study of 6,044 cases of hospitalized stroke in the Cincinnati metropolitan region found that the overall incidence of acute seizures within 24 hours after stroke was 3.1 percent. Of the patients who developed seizures, 32.1 percent died within 30 days. For those who did not develop seizures, the mortality rate was 13.3 percent.

Patients with hemorrhagic stroke (bleeding within the brain) had an 8.4 percent incidence of seizures within the first 24 hours, compared with 2.4 percent for patients with ischemic stroke (obstruction within a blood vessel), the more common form of stroke.

“Patients with seizures in the setting of an acute stroke may constitute a target population for the development of drugs that may prevent seizures,” Szaflarski says.

Despite the fact that African-Americans are known to have higher prevalence rates of seizures and strokes, the study found no difference in regard to mortality or incidence of seizures after acute stroke between white and black patients. Further studies are necessary to explain this discrepancy, the authors say. 

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