Poststroke Seizure and Epilepsy: A Review of Incidence, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Pathophysiology, and Pharmacological Therapies

Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2022 Oct 26:2022:7692215. doi: 10.1155/2022/7692215. eCollection 2022.


Stroke is the most common cause of epilepsy and ultimately leads to a decrease in the quality of life of those affected. Ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes can both lead to poststroke epilepsy (PSE). Significant risk factors for PSE include age < 65age less than 65 years, stroke severity measured by the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS), cortical involvement, and genetic factors such as TRPM6 polymorphism. The diagnosis of PSE is made by using imaging modalities, blood biomarkers, and prognostic criteria. Electroencephalography (EEG) is currently the gold standard to diagnose PSE, while new combinations of modalities are being tested to increase diagnostic specificity. This literature review uncovers a newly found mechanism for the pathology of poststroke epilepsy. The pathogenesis of early-onset and late-onset is characterized by sequelae of neuronal cellular hypoxia and disruption of the blood-brain barrier, respectively. Interleukin-6 is responsible for increasing the activity of glial cells, causing gliosis and hyperexcitability of neurons. Epinephrine, high-mobility group protein B1, downregulation of CD32, and upregulation of HLA-DR impact the pathology of poststroke epilepsy by inhibiting the normal neuronal immune response. Decreased levels of neuropeptide Y, a neurotransmitter, act through multiple unique mechanisms, such as inhibiting intracellular Ca2+ accumulation and acting as an anti-inflammatory, also implemented in the worsening progression of poststroke epilepsy. Additionally, CA1 hippocampal resonant neurons that increase theta oscillation are associated with poststroke epilepsy. Hypertensive small vessel disease may also have an implication in the temporal lobe epilepsy by causing occult microinfarctions. Furthermore, this review highlights the potential use of statins as primary prophylaxis against PSE, with multiple studies demonstrating a reduction in incidence using statins alone, statins in combination with antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), and statins with aspirin. The evidence strongly suggests that the second generation AEDs are a superior treatment method for PSE. Data from numerous studies demonstrate their relative lack of significant drug interactions, increased tolerability, and potential superiority in maintaining seizure-free status.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Epilepsy* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors*
  • Incidence
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Factors
  • Seizures / drug therapy
  • Stroke* / complications
  • Stroke* / drug therapy
  • Stroke* / epidemiology


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Anticonvulsants