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Epilepsia. 2009 May;50(5):1022-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2008.01796.x. Epub 2008 Oct 24.

Socioeconomic deprivation independent of ethnicity increases status epilepticus risk.

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Neurosciences Unit, Institute of Child Health, University College London, and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust, London, United Kingdom.



A higher incidence of convulsive status epilepticus (CSE) has been reported in nonwhite compared to white populations. Socioeconomic factors can be intricately involved in observed ethnic "effects," and the importance of socioeconomic status on health conditions is widely recognized. Understanding the effect of socioeconomic factors on CSE would provide insights into etiology and management, leading to the development of novel prevention strategies.


From a population-based UK study on childhood CSE, we tested the hypothesis that socioeconomic deprivation independent of ethnicity increases the risk of childhood CSE. Home postal codes were used to measure the socioeconomic status of the neighborhood in which patients lived relative to that of the borough in which the neighborhood was located. The child's ethnicity was reported by parent(s). Relationships between socioeconomic status, ethnicity, and incidence were investigated using Poisson regression analysis.


A total of 176 children were enrolled. The incidence of CSE in nonwhite children [18.5, 95% confidence interval (CI) 13.7-23.3/100,000/year] was 1.8 (95% CI 1.3-2.4) times greater than for white children (10.5, 95% CI 7.9-13.1/100,000/year) (p < 0.0005). Socioeconomic deprivation and Asian ethnicity were independently associated with increased incidence. For each point increase in Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) 2004, there was a 1.03 cumulative increased relative risk (95% CI 1.01-1.06, p = 0.007). Asian children were 5.7 times (95% CI 1.7-18.9) more likely than white children to have a first-ever episode of CSE (p = 0.004). Socioeconomic and ethnicity effects were related to etiology of CSE.


Ethnic and socioeconomic factors independently affect risk for prolonged febrile seizures and acute symptomatic CSE, but not for other types of childhood CSE.

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