Treatment options for posttraumatic epilepsy

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Posttraumatic seizures (PTS) and posttraumatic epilepsy (PTE) are common and debilitating consequences of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Early PTS result in secondary brain injury by raising intracranial pressure and worsening cerebral edema and metabolic crisis. PTE is a localization-related epilepsy strongly associated with TBI severity, but risk factors for PTE and epileptogenesis are incompletely understood and are active areas of research. Medical management of PTS in adults and children is reviewed. Surgical options for posttraumatic drug-resistant epilepsy are also discussed.

Recent findings

Continuous electroencephalography is indicated for children and adults with TBI and coma because of the high incidence of nonconvulsive seizures, periodic discharges, and associated secondary brain injury in this population. Neuroinflammation is a central component of secondary brain injury and appears to play a key role in epileptogenesis. Levetiracetam is increasingly used for seizure prophylaxis in adults and children, but variability remains.

Summary

PTS occur commonly after TBI and are associated with secondary brain injury and worse outcomes in adults and children. Current medical and surgical management options for PTS and PTE are reviewed.

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