Department of Neurology, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala State, India
People with epilepsy have a higher risk of accidents and injuries when compared to others in the community. Seizure frequency and other characteristics of epilepsy and its treatment are known to influence this risk. The risk of accidental injury to people with epilepsy may vary in different geographical areas, according to their life style, leisure activities and other pursuits. The objective was to ascertain the accidents and injuries experienced by a cohort of people with epilepsy in India, and to ascertain any possible predictors. The study was carried out in the Epilepsy Clinic of Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology between January and June 2007. Using a structured questionnaire, we interviewed all consenting adults attending this tertiary epilepsy center who had had active epilepsy for one or more years. Two hundred and fifty five patients completed the study. The diagnoses included localization-related epilepsy for 62.6% of the patients and generalized epilepsy for the remainder. During the 12 months prior to the interview, 44.8% had had at least one injury; 7.8% had sustained an accident. Road traffic accidents (3.1%), burns (2.5%), electric shocks (0.8%) and near drowning (0.4%) were the commonly reported accidents. Age, sex, type of epilepsy and type of medication had no significant association with the occurrence of injuries or accidents. However, we found that a quarter of the people with epilepsy studied had experienced serious injuries.