Cost-Effectiveness of Evaluation of Children With Epilepsy in the Emergency Department: Need for Investment in Patient Education

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We aimed to study cost-effectiveness of seizure evaluation of children with epilepsy in the emergency department (ED). We reviewed epilepsy patients seen at our ED for 1 year. Age, laboratory and neuroimaging results, treatment, disposition, and usefulness of the visit (need for hospitalization, clinical improvement) were analyzed. We identified 330 patients, aged 23 days–21 years, 190 (57.5%) had blood tests, 45 (13.6%) urinalysis, 2 (0.6%) cerebrospinal fluid testing, and 44 neuroimaging studies (13.3%). Tests’ positive yield were 41%, 11%, 0%, and 4.5%, respectively. One-third of patients (n = 122) were treated with antiepileptic drugs. Other treatments were administered to 44 (13.3%). One hundred eighteen patients (35.7%) were admitted to our hospital, 208 (63%) discharged to home. Two hundred eight visits were useful (63%). One-third of visits did not provide useful patient care. Their visits were expensive and not very cost-effective. Investment in patient education could decrease unnecessary ED visits.

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