Air travel and seizure frequency for individuals with epilepsy

Seizure. 2006 Jul;15(5):320-7. doi: 10.1016/j.seizure.2006.03.006. Epub 2006 May 2.


This study investigated whether air travel is associated with an increase in seizures for individuals with epilepsy. Thirty-seven participants monitored their seizure frequency for one week prior to flying and for one week after flying. For the sample as a whole, seizures were significantly more common after flying (p=.02). No seizures were reported as occurring during flight. Participants who experienced an increase in seizures after flying compared to those who did not (a) had a higher baseline of seizure frequency (p=.004), (b) were more likely to have previously experienced an increase in seizures after flying (p=.001), (c) were more worried about having a seizure while flying (p=.001) and (d) were more likely to avoid air travel (p=.02). Participants with complete seizure control prior to flying did not experience seizures after flying. Distance traveled, time zones crossed, duration of flight and direction of flight were not significantly different for those with seizure increase than for those without such an increase. This study suggests that air travel promotes an increase in seizures for those with a prior history of flight related seizures and a relatively high baseline seizure frequency.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aircraft*
  • Epilepsy / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Seizures / epidemiology*
  • Travel*