Epilepsy After Stroke


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. M. Kotila at The Outpatient Rehabilitation Unit, Department of Neurol- ogy, University of Helsinki, Mäntytie 8, 00270 Helsinki Finland.


Summary: A retrospective follow-up of 200 consecutive stroke patients [ischemic brain infarction (IBI) 157, intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) 20, subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) 231 who were in need of ambulatory rehabilitation was conducted for a mean period of 40 months after stroke. Epilepsy developed in 33 (17%) patients. The occurrence of epilepsy was 14% in IBI, 15% in ICH, and 35% in SAH. Significantly more patients developed epilepsy in the SAH group than in the IBI group (8 of 23 vs. 22 of 157, p < 0.05). Of the 33 patients, 15% had their first seizures within the first 2 weeks after stroke, and 55% developed epilepsy in 6 months. Forty-eight percent of the patients had generalized seizures. Antiepileptic drug (AED) treatment was started in 28 of 33 patients, of whom 17 still had seizures during follow-up. Epilepsy was an important consequence of stroke among patients who needed rehabilitation, especially in SAH patients. In most, this was due to arterial spasm leading to IBI.