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Epilepsy Res. 2003 Jan;52(3):233-42.

Prevalence of adult epilepsy in Estonia.

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  • 1Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, University of Tartu, 2 L. Puusepp St., 51014, Tartu, Estonia.


Epidemiological data about epilepsy from central and eastern Europe is scarce and results are controversial. The aim of this study was to estimate the main prevalence-related characteristics of active epilepsy in an adult population in Estonia. Review of all databases and lists related to epilepsy in Tartu supplemented by re-examination of patients to identify all persons with active epilepsy aged >/=20 years on January 1, 1997. Special attention was paid to the extensive adoption of definitions and criteria proposed by ILAE guidelines for epidemiologic studies. Both, crude and age-adjusted (to the 1970 US population) prevalence rates were 5.3 per 1000. The age-specific rates were constant in age groups 30-69 years and declined in the oldest age groups. Of the seizure types, partial seizures had highest rates, over half were secondarily generalized seizures. The largest syndromic categories were localization-related symptomatic and cryptogenic epilepsies. Risk factors for epilepsy were identified in 39.6% cases. Some 22% of all subjects did not take antiepileptic medication. Prevalence of active epilepsy and other prevalence-related characteristics in the adult population of Tartu was comparable to those reported from the developed countries. The predominance of localization-related syndromes and partial seizures is due to the age distribution of the study.

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