New study shows efficacy of epilepsy surgery in over-50s

Posted May 14 2014 in other treatments for epilepsy

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Epilepsy patients over the age of 50 ought to have confidence that surgical treatment options will be just as effective for them as they are for younger people.

This is according to a new study from Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, which assessed 558 adults who underwent resective epilepsy surgery in Sweden between 1990 and 2009 to get an overview of their overall outcomes.

Since the majority of epilepsy surgery candidates are young adults, outcome reports after epilepsy surgery in patients over 50 are few in number, with no clear consensus having been reached.

As such, this study aimed to describe patient characteristics of older patients compared to their younger adults, while analysing seizure, complication and vocational outcomes in a large population-based series.

Each of the patients involved in the trial had a two-year follow-up period, with 12 per cent of the subjects being aged 50 or older at the time of surgery. According to results published in the journal Seizure, these older patients tended to experience longer epilepsy duration and more often had mesial sclerosis, though they were also likely to have neurodevelopmental tumours and cortical malformations.

It was found that the proportion of seizure-free patients after the two-year follow-up did not differ between the older and younger patient groups. The percentage of people who were found to be seizure-free in the last year was 61 per cent, regardless of whether they were over or under 50.

Meanwhile, 48 per cent of over-50s were shown to be completely seizure-free since surgery, compared to only 43 per cent of those aged between 19 and 49.

Additionally, the occurrence of major complications – three per cent in both groups – was similar and the vocational situation was mainly stable between baseline and two-year follow-up, although older patients were less often employed than younger ones.

The researchers noted: “Seizure outcome was as good for older as for younger adults and there was no difference in the occurrence of major complications. This constitutes important information in the presurgical counselling process.”

Almost one in 100 people in the UK has epilepsy. It usually begins during childhood, but it can start at any age.

Posted by Bob Jones