, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 293-306
Date: 22 Jun 2012

Treatment of Post-Traumatic Epilepsy

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Opinion statement

Post-traumatic epilepsy (PTE) due to traumatic brain injury is a diagnosis with multifactorial causes, diverse clinical presentations, and an evolving concept of management. Due to sports injuries, work-related injuries, vehicular accidents, and wartime combat, there is rising demand to understand the epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of PTE. PTE could occur at any time after injury and up to decades post-injury. The frontal and temporal lobes are the most commonly affected regions, and the resulting epilepsy syndrome is typically localization related. PTE should be actively considered as a diagnosis in any patient with a history of head trauma and episodic neurologic compromise regardless of how temporally remote the trauma occurred. The standard work-up includes a thorough history, neurological examination, neuroimaging, and electroencephalogram. Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures have a high comorbidity with seizures and need to be carefully excluded. PTE can spontaneously remit. For patients who do not go into remission, treatment for confirmed PTE includes antiepileptics, vagal nerve stimulator, and, when appropriate, surgical resection of an epileptogenic lesion. Lifestyle modification and counseling are critical for patients with PTE and should be routinely included in clinical management. The published evidence on the efficacy of various treatment modalities specific to PTE consists largely of retrospective studies and case reports. Despite a unique pathogenesis, the majority of current care parameters for PTE parallel those of standard care for localization-related epilepsy. The potential and need for rigorous clinical research in PTE continue to be in great demand.