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J Rehabil Res Dev. 2015;52(7):751-62. doi: 10.1682/JRRD.2014.10.0241.

Characteristics of Veterans diagnosed with seizures within Veterans Health Administration.

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Southeast Epilepsy Centers of Excellence, Durham Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Durham, NC;


The purpose of this report is to describe the demographics of Veterans diagnosed with seizures and taking antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) within the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) during fiscal year (FY) 2011 (October 1, 2010, to September 30, 2011), particularly with regard to comorbid traumatic brain injury (TBI) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Information collected included age; sex; Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation New Dawn (OIF/OEF/OND) status; and relevant encounter diagnosis codes for seizures, TBI, and PTSD. During FY11, 87,377 Veterans with seizures on AEDs were managed within the VHA. Prevalence was 15.5 per 1,000, and annual incidence was 148.2 per 100,000. The percentages of comorbid TBI and PTSD were 15.8% and 24.1%, respectively. For OIF/OEF/OND Veterans, these percentages increased to 52.6% and 70.4%, respectively. PTSD and TBI are risk factors for both epilepsy and psychogenic nonepileptic seizures. Within the VHA, many Veterans experiencing seizures cannot be successfully treated with AEDs. The VHA Epilepsy Centers of Excellence promotes a multidisciplinary approach to increase and improve access to both epilepsy and mental health specialists for the care of epileptic and nonepileptic seizures.


Operation Enduring Freedom; Operation Iraqi Freedom; Operation New Dawn; VHA health data; epidemiology; epilepsy; incidence; posttraumatic stress disorder; prevalence; psychogenic nonepileptic seizures; seizures; traumatic brain injury

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