While a higher rate of mortality has been associated with epilepsy, the precise contribution of the underlying health factors is unknown. The results from the study of a large cohort of people born in Denmark in 1977 through 2006 were reported at the American Epilepsy Society.
Children were followed in the study from the 29th day of life to December 31, 2006, or until they were deceased or emigrated. The data was gathered by linking information from the Danish registries for civil service, health and cause of death. Investigators estimated the overall and cause-specific mortality based on the hospital admissions for epilepsy. (Platform C.06)
They found the rate of mortality to be higher than the general population even after excluding children who were premature, of low birth weight, or with low Apgar scores.
"The increased mortality associated with epilepsy is only partially explained by adverse birth outcomes," says lead study author, Jakob Christensen, MD, PhD., "Further studies are needed to understand the underlying factors that contribute to the significantly increased rate of mortality in the epilepsy population over background."
Editors Note: Authors of this study will be available for a press briefing on Monday, December 6, at 3:00 PM (CT) in the onsite press room, Room 101B, of the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center. To join by phone Dial in on 1-866-740-1260; PIN 5867508#
About the American Epilepsy Society (AES)
The American Epilepsy Society, based in West Hartford, CT, seeks to advance and improve the treatment of epilepsy through the promotion of epilepsy research and education for healthcare professionals. Society membership includes physicians and scientists concerned with the study and treatment of epilepsy (epileptologists) and allied professionals who care for people with seizure disorders.