Prevalence and characteristics of epilepsy in the Aeolian islands

Guiseppe Gallitto, Salvatore Serra, Paolino La Spina, Paolo Postorino, Angela Laganà, Fortunata Tripodi, Santo Gangemi, Salvatore Calabrò, Rodolpho Savica, Raoul Di Perri, Ettore Beghi, Rosa Musolino

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27 Scopus citations


Purpose: To estimate the prevalence and define the clinical characteristics of epileptic disorders in the 13,431 residents of the Sicilian Aeolian archipelago, on June 1, 1999. Methods: All established or suspected cases were identified by the neurologists of our working group from available medical information sources. Possible epilepsy cases were then evaluated by the epileptologists by using a standardized questionnaire. The patients were further reviewed by the whole research team to confirm the clinical diagnosis. For a more detailed syndromic definition, some patients underwent EEG or neuroradiologic investigations or both. Results: The crude point prevalence rate of active epilepsy was 3.13 (95% confidence interval, 2.2-4.2). The prevalence rate age-adjusted to the 2001 Italian population was 3.01. Females had a slightly higher prevalence rate than did males. The highest age-specific prevalence was found in patients aged 5 to 14 years (5.05) and in those aged 65 to 74 years (5.41). Partial seizures with or without secondary generalization were more common (61.7%) than were generalized seizures. Eighty-three percent of cases had symptomatic or cryptogenic localization-related epilepsies, and 8.5% had idiopathic (generalized or partial) epilepsies. Epilepsy was unclassified in 8.5% of cases. Conclusions: The prevalence of active epilepsy in the Aeolian islands is lower than that in other developed areas, including northern Italy, but is similar to that in Sicily. Partial seizures were the most common type, and localization-related symptomatic epilepsies were the largest syndromic category.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1828-1835
Number of pages8
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2005


  • Epidemiology
  • Epilepsy
  • Prevalence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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