Purpose: To characterize seizures after intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), evaluating the risk of occurrence and relapse, predisposing factors, and prognostic significance, and to assess the utility of antiepileptic drug (AED) therapy as used in clinical practice.
Methods: The study sample consisted of 761 patients with spontaneous, nonaneurysmal, supratentorial ICH. Seizures were classified as immediate (within 24 h of ICH) and early (within 30 days of ICH). Baseline variables and clinical events were compared in the seizure and nonseizure group by using a multivariate regression model of failure time data.
Results: Fifty-seven patients had one or more seizures. The 30-day actuarial risk of a post-ICH seizure was 8.1%. Lobar location and small volume of ICH were independent predictors of immediate seizures. Early seizures were associated with lobar location and neurologic complications, mainly rebleeding. In patients with lobar ICH, the risk of early seizures was reduced by prophylactic AED therapy. Among seizure patients, history of alcohol abuse increased the risk of status epilepticus. Immediate and early seizures were not independent predictors of in-hospital mortality.
Conclusions: Patients with ICH are exposed to a substantial risk of seizures; however, short-term mortality was not affected, and the risk of epilepsy was lower than previously thought. The likelihood of immediate seizures is influenced by factors that are inherent characteristics of ICH, whereas the chance of developing early seizures is influenced not only by certain characteristics of ICH, but also by unpredictable events. A brief period of therapy soon after ICH onset may reduce the risk of early seizures in patients with lobar hemorrhage.