Incidence of epilepsy: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Neurology. 2011 Sep 6;77(10):1005-12. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e31822cfc90.


Objective: To estimate the pooled incidence of epilepsy from published studies and investigate sources of heterogeneity in the estimates.

Methods: We searched online databases for incidence studies and used meta-analytic methods to analyze the data.

Results: Thirty-three articles met the entry criteria. The median incidence of epilepsy was 50.4/100,000/year (interquartile range [IQR] 33.6-75.6), while it was 45.0 (IQR 30.3-66.7) for high-income countries and 81.7 (IQR 28.0-239.5) for low- and middle-income countries. Population-based studies had higher incidence estimates than hospital-based studies (p = 0.02) while retrospective study design was associated with lower estimates than prospective studies (p = 0.04).

Conclusion: We provide data that could potentially be used to assess the burden and analyze the trends in incidence of epilepsy. Our results support the need for large population-based incidence studies of epilepsy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Factual
  • Epilepsy / diagnosis
  • Epilepsy / epidemiology*
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Incidence