Early seizures and temporal lobe trauma predict post-traumatic epilepsy: A longitudinal study

EpiBioS4Rx Study Group Investigators

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Objective: Injury severity after traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a well-established risk factor for the development of post-traumatic epilepsy (PTE). However, whether lesion location influences the susceptibility of seizures and development of PTE longitudinally has yet to be defined. We hypothesized that lesion location, specifically in the temporal lobe, would be associated with an increased incidence of both early seizures and PTE. As secondary analysis measures, we assessed the degree of brain atrophy and functional recovery, and performed a between-group analysis, comparing patients who developed PTE with those who did not develop PTE. Methods: We assessed early seizure incidence (n = 90) and longitudinal development of PTE (n = 46) in a prospective convenience sample of patients with moderate-severe TBI. Acutely, patients were monitored with prospective cEEG and a high-resolution Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scan for lesion location classification. Chronically, patients underwent a high-resolution MRI, clinical assessment, and were longitudinally monitored for development of epilepsy for a minimum of 2 years post-injury. Results: Early seizures, occurring within the first week post-injury, occurred in 26.7% of the patients (n = 90). Within the cohort of subjects who had evidence of early seizures (n = 24), 75% had a hemorrhagic temporal lobe injury on admission. For longitudinal analyses (n = 46), 45.7% of patients developed PTE within a minimum of 2 years post-injury. Within the cohort of subjects who developed PTE (n = 21), 85.7% had a hemorrhagic temporal lobe injury on admission and 38.1% had early (convulsive or non-convulsive) seizures on cEEG monitoring during their acute ICU stay. In a between-group analysis, patients with PTE (n = 21) were more likely than patients who did not develop PTE (n = 25) to have a hemorrhagic temporal lobe injury (p < 0.001), worse functional recovery (p = 0.003), and greater temporal lobe atrophy (p = 0.029). Conclusion: Our results indicate that in a cohort of patients with a moderate-severe TBI, 1) lesion location specificity (e.g. the temporal lobe) is related to both a high incidence of early seizures and longitudinal development of PTE, 2) early seizures, whether convulsive or non-convulsive in nature, are associated with an increased risk for PTE development, and 3) patients who develop PTE have greater chronic temporal lobe atrophy and worse functional outcomes, compared to those who do not develop PTE, despite matched injury severity characteristics. This study provides the foundation for a future prospective study focused on elucidating the mechanisms and risk factors for epileptogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-121
Number of pages7
JournalNeurobiology of Disease
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • Brain atrophy
  • Brain trauma
  • Coma
  • Post-traumatic epilepsy
  • Seizures
  • Status epilepticus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology


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