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Pediatrics. 2012 Feb;129(2):256-64. doi: 10.1542/peds.2010-1371. Epub 2012 Jan 23.

A national profile of childhood epilepsy and seizure disorder.

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Department of Academic Primary Care Pediatrics, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA.



To determine sociodemographics, patterns of comorbidity, and function of US children with reported epilepsy/seizure disorder.


Bivariate and multivariable cross-sectional analysis of data from the National Survey of Children's Health (2007) on 91‚ÄČ605 children ages birth to 17 years, including 977 children reported by their parents to have been diagnosed with epilepsy/seizure disorder.


Estimated lifetime prevalence of epilepsy/seizure disorder was 10.2/1000 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 8.7-11.8) or 1%, and of current reported epilepsy/seizure disorder was 6.3/1000 (95% CI: 4.9-7.8). Epilepsy/seizure disorder prevalence was higher in lower-income families and in older, male children. Children with current reported epilepsy/seizure disorder were significantly more likely than those never diagnosed to experience depression (8% vs 2%), anxiety (17% vs 3%), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (23% vs 6%), conduct problems (16% vs 3%), developmental delay (51% vs 3%), autism/autism spectrum disorder (16% vs 1%), and headaches (14% vs 5%) (all P < .05). They had greater risk of limitation in ability to do things (relative risk: 9.22; 95% CI: 7.56-11.24), repeating a school grade (relative risk: 2.59; CI: 1.52-4.40), poorer social competence and greater parent aggravation, and were at increased risk of having unmet medical and mental health needs. Children with prior but not current seizures largely had intermediate risk.


In a nationally representative sample, children with seizures were at increased risk for mental health, developmental, and physical comorbidities, increasing needs for care coordination and specialized services. Children with reported prior but not current seizures need further study to establish reasons for their higher than expected levels of reported functional limitations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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