Outcome in subjects with alcohol-provoked seizures

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1992 Oct;16(5):955-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.1992.tb01899.x.


The outcome in 165 subjects with either an unknown (n = 93) or an alcohol-related (n = 72) seizure etiology, admitted to the emergency room of a general hospital in 1977-1978, was assessed after 10 years on the basis of subsequent hospital records and death-certificate-based mortality data. Alcohol and/or drug poisoning was the most frequent cause of death in the group with alcohol-related seizures. Sixty-four percent of the deaths in this group were directly related to alcohol abuse. The crude mortality was 45.8 (expected 8.6)/100 persons/10 years in the group with alcohol-related seizures and 15.1 (expected 6.0)/100 persons/10 years in the other group, the odds ratio between the groups being 4.8. Twenty percent of those with an unknown seizure etiology were found to show alcohol-related seizures, while the seizure etiology remained unknown in 59%, and a specific etiology other than alcohol abuse was revealed in 21% during the follow-up period. We conclude that alcohol abuse is an important, though often undetected, seizure etiology carrying a poor prognosis. The difference in mortality between the groups was due more to alcoholism than to seizures. There was no difference in mortality between those with a first alcohol-related seizure and those with previous alcohol-related seizures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Withdrawal Delirium / mortality*
  • Alcoholism / complications*
  • Alcoholism / mortality
  • Alcoholism / rehabilitation
  • Cause of Death*
  • Epilepsy / mortality*
  • Ethanol / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Seizures / mortality*


  • Ethanol