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Epilepsia. 2002 Oct;43(10):1251-5.

Epilepsy and mortality: a record linkage study in a U.K. population.

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Welsh Centre for Learning Disabilities (Clinical Studies), Department of Psychological Medicine, University of Wales College of Medicine, Cardiff, Wales, UK.



To examine patterns of mortality for a population with epilepsy compared with the nonepilepsy population.


The study used cross-sectional record linkage, combining an electronic death register with an epilepsy patient register constructed from a variety of routine health data sources collected from 1991 to 1997. The study was conducted in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, U.K., and included all deaths recorded between 1993 and 1996.


There were 352 deaths for patients with epilepsy, 2.0% of all deaths. The crude mortality rates for patients with and without epilepsy were 36.2 and 9.9 per 1,000. The Standardised Mortality Ratio was 2.14 (95% CI, 1.74-2.55) for 1996 deaths. The single most common disease group was cancer, accounting for 66 (18.8%) of deaths for people with epilepsy (SMR, 1.47; 95% CI, 1.11-1.82). Significant excesses were demonstrated for cerebrovascular disease, diseases of the digestive system, respiratory diseases, and other causes of death.


People with epilepsy have an increased mortality over the population as a whole. The main causes of death are those most common in the population as a whole and those that underlie the epilepsy itself.

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