The Impact of COVID-19 on Epilepsy Care: A Survey of the American Epilepsy Society Membership

Epilepsy Curr. 2020 Sep;20(5):316-324. doi: 10.1177/1535759720956994. Epub 2020 Sep 17.


The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the delivery of care to people with epilepsy (PWE) in multiple ways including limitations on in-person contact and restrictions on neurophysiological procedures. To better study the effect of the pandemic on PWE, members of the American Epilepsy Society were surveyed between April 30 and June 14, 2020. There were 366 initial responses (9% response rate) and 337 respondents remained for analysis after screening out noncompleters and those not directly involved with clinical care; the majority were physicians from the United States. About a third (30%) of respondents stated that they had patients with COVID-19 and reported no significant change in seizure frequency. Conversely, one-third of respondents reported new onset seizures in patients with COVID-19 who had no prior history of seizures. The majority of respondents felt that there were at least some barriers for PWE in receiving appropriate clinical care, neurophysiologic procedures, and elective surgery. Medication shortages were noted by approximately 30% of respondents, with no clear pattern in types of medication involved. Telehealth was overwhelmingly found to have value. Among the limitation of the survey was that it was administered at a single point in time in a rapidly changing pandemic. The survey showed that almost all respondents were affected by the pandemic in a variety of ways.

Keywords: COVID-19; EEG; SARS-CoV-2; epilepsy care; people with epilepsy (PWE); seizures; survey; telehealth.