Factors affecting seizure outcome after epilepsy surgery: an observational series

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Surgical treatment can bring seizure remission in people with focal epilepsy but requires careful selection of candidates.


To determine which preoperative factors are associated with postoperative seizure outcome.


We audited seizure outcome of 693 adults who had resective epilepsy surgery between 1990 and 2010 and used survival analysis to detect preoperatively identifiable risk factors of poor seizure outcome.


Seven factors were significantly associated with increased probability of recurrence of seizures with impaired awareness postsurgery: MRI findings (eg, HR adjusted for other variables in the model 2.5; 95% CI 1.6 to 3.8 for normal MRI compared with hippocampal sclerosis), a history of secondarily generalised convulsive seizures (2.3; 95% CI 1.7 to 3.0 for these seizures in the previous year vs never), psychiatric history (1.3; 95% CI 1.1 to 1.7), learning disability (1.8; 95% CI 1.2 to 2.6) and extratemporal (vs temporal) surgery (1.4; 95% CI 1.02, 2.04). People with an older onset of epilepsy had a higher probability of seizure recurrence (1.01; 95% CI 1.00, 1.02) as did those who had used more antiepileptic drugs (1.05; 95% CI 1.01 to 1.09). Combinations of variables associated with seizure recurrence gave overall low probabilities of 5-year seizure freedom (eg, a normal MRI and convulsive seizures in the previous year has a probability of seizure freedom at 5 years of approximately 0.19).


Readily identified clinical features and investigations are associated with reduced probability of good outcome and need consideration when planning presurgical evaluation.

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