Objective: The purpose of our study was to assess whether race/ethnicity was associated with seizure remission in pediatric epilepsy.
Methods: This was a retrospective population-based cohort study of children who were evaluated for new-onset epilepsy in the clinic, emergency department, and/or hospital by a pediatric neurologist in an integrated health care delivery system. Children were between ages 6 months and 15 years at their initial presentation of epilepsy. The cohort, identified through an electronic database, was assembled over 6 years, with no less than 5 years of follow-up. All children were evaluated for race, ethnicity, insurance type, and socioeconomic background. Patient outcome was determined at the conclusion of the study period and categorized according to their epilepsy control as either drug resistant (pharmacoresistant and intractable) or drug responsive (controlled, probable remission, and terminal remission).
Results: In the final cohort of 776 patients, 63% were drug responsive (control or seizure remission). After controlling for confounding socioeconomic and demographic factors, children of Hispanic ethnicity experienced reduced likelihood (hazard) of drug-responsive epilepsy (hazard ratio 0.6, P < .001), and had longer median time to remission (8 years; 95% CI 5.9-9.6 years) compared to white non-Hispanic patients (5.6 years; 95% CI 4.9-6.1 years). Among Hispanic patients, higher health care costs were associated with reduced likelihood of drug responsiveness.
Significance: We found that Hispanic ethnicity is associated with a reduced likelihood of achieving seizure control and remission. This study suggests that factors associated with the race/ethnicity of patients contributes to their likelihood of achieving seizure freedom.
Keywords: epilepsy; health disparities; minority; pediatric.
Conflict of interest statement
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