Childhood stroke is rare and can predispose to post-stroke epilepsy. The purpose of this study was to evaluate long-term quality of life (QoL) in patients with childhood stroke, focusing on epileptic aspects.
This involves a retrospective study of 98 patients with childhood stroke (pre- and neonatal strokes excluded), who had been inpatients between 1986 and 2003 for early rehabilitation. Data were obtained via interviews using a standardized questionnaire: QoL evaluation with KINDL, functional outcome with Barthel Index, and motor handicaps-assessment with modified Rankin Score.
Forty-nine of 98 patients (31 males, mean follow-up 16 years, range 8-25 years) were included. Six patients passed away (three of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy). At least one epileptic seizure occurred in 27/49 patients (occurrence: 2 days-13 years.; mean 3.3 years.). Epilepsy manifested in 19/49 patients. No correlation was found between the development of epilepsy and the location or etiology of the stroke. The presence of functional independence was significantly higher in seizure-free patients and in patients without epilepsy. For the external assessment (filled in for the patient by the parent/caregiver), there was no significant difference in QoL in patients with and without epilepsy; however, in the in-person KINDL questionnaire a significantly lower QoL was noted in epilepsy patients compared with patients without epilepsy.
One important finding in our study is that in the long-term course 39% of patients developed epilepsy after a childhood stroke. It occurred as late as 13 years after the acute episode and affected the QoL especially in cognitively less handicapped patients.
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