Purpose: We sought to detect the incidence and the risk factors of posttraumatic epilepsy (PTE) in rehabilitation patients; to define the influence of PTE for late clinical and functional outcome; and to assess the cognitive and behavioral features of the patients with PTE.
Methods: Patients were examined with (a) cognitive and behavioral examinations, which included a clinical interview and psychometric tests performed by an expert clinical psychologist; (b) single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); and (c) functional evaluation including the Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) and the Functional Independence Measure (FIM).
Results: Of the 143 patients examined in this study, in 27 (19%), seizures developed after a mean time from trauma of 11.9 +/- 8.6 months. The occurrence of PTE was significantly correlated with the hypoperfusion in temporal lobes (p < 0.004), the degree of hydrocephalus (p < 0.04), the evidence of intracerebral hematoma (p < 0.01), and operative brain injury (p < 0.001). Patients with epilepsy showed a significantly higher incidence of personality disorders than did patients without epilepsy. The uninhibited behavior, irritability, and agitated and aggressive behavior were significantly more frequent and severe in PTE patients. The psychometric tests intended to explore memory, language, intelligence, attention, and spatial cognition did not show any significant difference between those with and without epilepsy. PTE also was significantly correlated with a worse functional outcome 1 year after the trauma.
Conclusions: The degrees of hydrocephalus and of hypoperfusion in the temporal lobes are significant risk factors for late PTE. Another main finding of our study is the absence of influence of epilepsy on cognitive disorders; its influence on neurobehavioral disorders and functional outcome is discussed.