Document Type : Original Article(s)
Epilepsy Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
Jefferson Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, Department of Neurology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, PA, USA
Background: Previous studies have shown that patients with epilepsy (PWE) perceived significant disruption in the quality and provision of care due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The present study aimed to investigate the effect of this pandemic on seizure control status and changes in seizure frequency in PWE.
Methods: A consecutive sample of adult PWE registered in the database of Shiraz Epilepsy Center (Shiraz, Iran) was included in the study. In July 2021, phone interviews were conducted with all selected patients. Information such as age, sex, last seizure, seizure type, and frequency during the 12 months before the study, and history of COVID-19 contraction was extracted. The seizure control status of the patients in 2019 (pre-pandemic) was compared with that during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data were analyzed using SPSS software with the Fisher’s exact test and Pearson’s Chi squared test. P<0.05 was considered statistically significant.
Results: A total of 158 patients were included in the study, out of which 62 (39.2%) patients had a stable seizure control status, 47 (29.7%) had fewer seizures, and 50 (31.6%) had more seizures. Breakthrough seizures were reported by 32 (34.4%) patients. Seizure frequency increased in 18 (27.7%) and decreased in 46 (70.7%) patients.
Conclusion: Overall, the COVID-19 pandemic has not been a major precipitating factor nor has it affected the seizure control status of PWE. In treated epilepsy, a fluctuating course with periods of seizure freedom followed by relapses is part of its natural history.
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