Epilepsy may have far-reaching consequences for patients, other than having seizures and medication. At 15 years after diagnosis, this study investigates health perception, restrictions due to epilepsy, living arrangements (including marital status and offspring), and the educational and occupational attainment of patients with childhood-onset epilepsy.Methods:
A total of 453 patients with epilepsy had a 5-year follow-up since diagnosis with regular visits and data collection. Ten years later, a questionnaire addressing epilepsy was completed by 413 patients, resulting in a mean follow-up of 15 years. Subjects were compared with age peers of the Dutch population for each etiologic group separately, and also for subjects with/without a 5-year terminal remission regardless of treatment. Age-adjusted standardized incidence rates were calculated for each variable.Key Findings:
Subjects with normal intelligence had a health perception comparable with that of the general population, but significantly more subjects without remission had a worse health perception, especially those still using medication. Restrictions and symptoms due to epilepsy were reported by 14% of the subjects, mainly by those without remission or with ongoing medication. The living arrangement of subjects with idiopathic or cryptogenic etiology was similar to that of Dutch persons of the same age (age peers). Subjects with remote symptomatic etiology less often lived independently or with a partner, and more frequently resided in an institution or living group for the disabled. Those with and without remission were more often part of another household, mainly due (in both groups) to having a remote symptomatic etiology. Rates of having a partner and offspring were significantly reduced only for subjects with remote symptomatic etiology. Fewer students with idiopathic/remote symptomatic etiology and students in remission followed higher vocational or scientific education. In these latter groups, the highest attained education of employees was lower than expected. The employment status of subjects with idiopathic or cryptogenic etiology was comparable with that of their Dutch age peers, but fewer subjects with remote symptomatic etiology were employed and more of them were part of the dependent population. However, for those in the labor force (employed/unemployed) all employment rates were ≥90%, even for those with remote symptomatic etiology. Nevertheless, fewer employees than expected had a higher vocational or scientific level of occupation, even those with idiopathic etiology and those in remission.Significance:
Health perception, living arrangement, and socioeconomic status were influenced by epilepsy, comorbidities, or treatment, particularly for subjects with remote symptomatic etiology or no remission. The group in remission fared less well than expected, mainly due to the numbers of subjects with remote symptomatic etiology in this group. In line with others, we conclude that childhood-onset epilepsy is associated with lower educational attainment, even for subjects with idiopathic etiology and subjects in remission; probably related to this, their occupational level was also lower than expected.