Stroke Survivors May Develop Seizures
15 percent experience at least one seizure within 3 years, researchers say
By Randy Dotinga
THURSDAY, Feb. 18, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Seizures are common in the years following a stroke, a new study found, with nearly one in six survivors requiring hospital care after a seizure.
Researchers noted that the seizure rate following stroke was more than double the rate compared to people who'd experienced traumatic brain injuries such as concussions.
The researchers also noted that people who had certain type of stroke had an even higher risk for seizure. "One in four patients with a hemorrhagic-type stroke will develop seizures," said study lead author Dr. Alexander Merkler, a fellow in neurocritical care at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.
A hemorrhagic stroke is the type that occurs when a blood vessel in the brain bursts. This type of stroke is much less common than an ischemic stroke, which occurs when a blood vessel in the brain is blocked, according to the American Stroke Association.
"Patients with stroke should be aware they may develop seizures and should be counseled on common symptoms or signs of seizures," Merkler added.
It's not news that people have seizures after stroke. "But it was unclear for how long patients were at risk for seizures and exactly what percentage of patients with stroke would develop seizures," Merkler said.
The new research doesn't shed light on the ultimate fate of stroke patients who had seizures -- it's not clear if they continued to have lifelong seizure events. Nor did the research look into how many stroke survivors had seizures but didn't go to the hospital.
In the new study, researchers examined hospital visits from 2005-2013 in California, Florida and New York. They focused on more than 600,000 people with a first stroke and nearly 2 million people with traumatic brain injuries. The study authors wanted to compare seizures after stroke to those after traumatic injury to the brain, a known risk factor for seizures.
The researchers found that 15 percent of stroke patients had a seizure over an average of three years of follow-up, while nearly 6 percent of those who suffered traumatic brain injuries had a seizure. People who suffered strokes caused by bleeding in the brain had the highest risk of seizure, the study found.