Subtypes of post-traumatic epilepsy: clinical, electrophysiological, and imaging features

J Neurotrauma. 2014 Aug 15;31(16):1439-43. doi: 10.1089/neu.2013.3221. Epub 2014 Jul 28.


Post-traumatic epilepsy (PTE) is a consequence of traumatic brain injury (TBI), occurring in 10-25% of patients with moderate to severe injuries. The development of animal models for testing antiepileptogenic therapies and validation of biomarkers to follow epileptogenesis in humans necessitates sophisticated understanding of the subtypes of PTE, which is the objective of this study. In this study, retrospective review was performed of patients with moderate to severe TBI with subsequent development of medically refractory epilepsy referred for video-electroencephalography (EEG) monitoring at a single center over a 10-year period. Information regarding details of injury, neuroimaging studies, seizures, video-EEG, and surgery outcomes were collected and analyzed. There were 123 patients with PTE identified, representing 4.3% of all patients evaluated in the epilepsy monitoring unit. Most of them had localization-related epilepsy, of which 57% had temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), 35% had frontal lobe epilepsy (FLE), and 3% each had parietal and occipital lobe epilepsy. Of patients with TLE, 44% had mesial temporal sclerosis (MTS), 26% had temporal neocortical lesions, and 30% were nonlesional. There was no difference in age at injury between the different PTE subtypes. Twenty-two patients, 13 of whom had MTS, proceeded to surgical resection. At a mean follow-up of 2.5 years, Engel Class I outcomes were seen in 69% of those with TLE and 33% of those with FLE. Our findings suggest PTE is a heterogeneous condition, and careful evaluation with video-EEG monitoring and high resolution MRI can identify distinct syndromes. These results have implications for the design of clinical trials of antiepileptogenic therapies for PTE.

Keywords: EEG; post-traumatic epilepsy; seizure; surgical resection; traumatic brain injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy, Post-Traumatic / classification*
  • Epilepsy, Post-Traumatic / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult