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Epilepsy Behav. 2012 Jun;24(2):249-55. doi: 10.1016/j.yebeh.2012.03.012. Epub 2012 Apr 23.

Determinants of quality of life in patients with refractory focal epilepsy who were not eligible for surgery or who rejected surgery.

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Department of Presurgical Evaluation, Bethel Epilepsy Center, Germany.


The aim of the study was to assess the determinants of quality of life (QOL) in adult patients with refractory focal epilepsy who were not eligible for surgery or who rejected surgery after presurgical evaluation. The QOLIE-31, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale and PESOS questionnaire were mailed in 2009 to all adult patients who had been evaluated for suitability for epilepsy surgery between 2001 and 2007 in the Bethel Epilepsy Center and had been deemed not eligible for surgery or had decided against surgery. Questionnaires were sent by post to 359 patients: 172 (47.9%) replied, and of these, 125 patients were eligible for this study. The remaining 47 patients were excluded mainly because they did not fulfill the criteria of refractory epilepsy. Out of the included 125 patients, 106 were considered to be poor surgical candidates for medical reasons, and 19 had decided against surgery. The mean follow-up was 4.1±2.1 years. In the past 6 months, 13.9% of the patients were seizure free, 12 of them (9.6%) were seizure free for one year, 10.7% had 1-2 seizures, 11.5% had 3-5 seizures, 27.0% had one or more seizures a month, 23.0% had one or more seizures a week, and 13.9% had one or more seizures a day. Patient-perceived changes in their seizures since presurgical evaluation were rated by 15.6% of the patients as 'improved significantly', by 28.7% as 'improved', by 46.7% as 'no change', by 6.6% as 'deteriorated' and by 2.5% as 'significantly deteriorated'. Quality of life in patients with refractory epilepsy was much lower compared to operated patients from our center. Multivariate analysis of QOL showed that depression and anxiety are strong predictors but not exclusively. Furthermore, tolerability and efficacy of AEDs are significant predictors of most QOLIE-31 subscales. Employment, seizure frequency, patient-perceived change in their seizures, number of AEDs and the degree of comorbidity appeared as predictors for some aspects of QOL as well. When excluding anxiety and depression, the most important predictors of QOL were tolerability of AEDs and employment. For other aspects of QOL, efficacy of AEDs, gender, number of AEDs, degree of comorbidity and a certificate of disability were additional predictors. The results of the multivariate analysis did not essentially change when seizure-free patients were excluded.


Quality of life in non-operated patients with refractory epilepsy is significantly lower than in operated patients from the same center. Besides depression and anxiety, patient-rated tolerability and efficacy of AEDs, seizure frequency and employment are the main determinants of QOL.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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