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Many stroke survivors may develop seizures

A substantial proportion of stroke survivors develop seizures in the years following their strokes, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2016.

Researchers studied information on hospitalizations and emergency department visits in California, Florida and New York from 2005 and 2013, identifying patients at the time of a first documented ischemic (clot-caused) or hemorrhagic (bleeding) stroke. For comparison, they also identified patients at the time of a first documented traumatic brain injury, since doctors have known for a long time that traumatic brain injury places patients at risk of seizures. Among the patients studied, 620,739 were diagnosed with stroke and 1,911,995 with traumatic brain injury.

Researchers found:

  • During an average follow-up of 3.4 years, 15.3 percent of patients with stroke had a seizure and 5.7 percent of patients with traumatic brain injury had a seizure.
  • Even taking into account other factors like age, the risk of seizure after stroke was significantly higher than the risk of seizure following traumatic brain injury.
  • Among the stroke subgroups studied, the long-term seizure risk was highest in patients who suffered intracerebral or subarachnoid hemorrhage, which occurs when a weakened vessel ruptures and bleeds into the brain.