Purpose: Both a single seizure and chronic recurrent seizures (epilepsy) occur commonly in childhood. Although several studies have documented the impact of pediatric epilepsy on psychosocial functioning, such as health-related quality of life (HRQOL), no studies have examined the impact of a single seizure on HRQOL. The primary objectives of this study were: (1) to compare parent-proxy HRQOL in children with a single seizure and newly diagnosed untreated epilepsy to normative data and (2) to examine differences in parent-proxy HRQOL between children with single seizure and newly diagnosed untreated epilepsy.
Methods: A retrospective medical chart review was conducted on a consecutive cohort of children being evaluated for seizures at a New-Onset Seizure Disorder Clinic. Information from the medical chart review included demographic data, seizure information, and the parent-proxy Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL), a well-validated measure of HRQOL in pediatric chronic illnesses.
Results: Participants included 109 children (n = 53 single seizure; n = 56 newly diagnosed untreated epilepsy). Results indicated that both children with a single seizure and children with newly diagnosed untreated epilepsy had significant impairments in HRQOL compared to normative data. However, no significant HRQOL differences were found between the single seizure and the untreated epilepsy groups.
Discussion: Children diagnosed with a single seizure or epilepsy have similar clinically significant impairments in HRQOL. Evaluation of HRQOL, even after a first seizure, is important and will identify children at risk at the earliest opportunity, allowing for timely psychosocial intervention.