Injuries due to seizures in persons with epilepsy: A population-based study

N. D. Lawn, W. R. Bamlet, K. Radhakrishnan, P. C. O'Brien, E. L. So

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Scopus citations


Background: Previous studies of injuries due to epileptic seizures predominantly involved patients with intractable epilepsy. These studies may have overestimated the risk of injuries in persons with epilepsy. Methods: Patients consisted of 247 Rochester, MN, residents who were diagnosed with epilepsy between 1975 and 1984. Seizure-related injuries were defined as any injury, other than orolingual trauma, resulting from a seizure, sufficient for the patient to seek medical attention or for injury occurrence to be determined during the course of medical care. To identify risk factors for injury, characteristics of patients with seizure-related injury were compared with those without injury. Results: During a total of 2,714 patient-years of follow-up, 62 seizure-related injuries were identified in 39 patients (16%, one injury in every 44 person-years). Most injuries involved cranial soft tissue contusions or lacerations (79%). The majority of seizure-related injuries (82%) occurred during generalized convulsive seizures. Univariate analyses identified five potential risk factors for seizure-related injury, greater number of antiepileptic drugs used, less independent living situation, higher Rankin score, history of generalized convulsive seizures or drop attacks, and higher seizure frequency score. Seizure frequency, however, was the only significant risk factor identified by multivariate analysis (p < 0.001; relative risk, 1.33). Conclusions: This population-based study shows that seizure-related injuries are infrequent and generally of minor severity. In most epilepsy patients, excessive restriction of daily activities to avoid injury is unnecessary. Effective seizure control reliably reduces the risk of seizure-related injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1565-1570
Number of pages6
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 9 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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