Incidence and risk factors of posttraumatic seizures following traumatic brain injury: A Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems Study

Academic Article


  • Objective: Determine incidence of posttraumatic seizure (PTS) following traumatic brain injury (TBI) among individuals with moderate-to-severe TBI requiring rehabilitation and surviving at least 5 years. Methods: Using the prospective TBI Model Systems National Database, we calculated PTS incidence during acute hospitalization, and at years 1, 2, and 5 postinjury in a continuously followed cohort enrolled from 1989 to 2000 (n = 795). Incidence rates were stratified by risk factors, and adjusted relative risk (RR) was calculated. Late PTS associations with immediate (<24 h), early (24 h–7 day), or late seizures (>7 day) versus no seizure prior to discharge from acute hospitalization was also examined. Results: PTS incidence during acute hospitalization was highest immediately (<24 h) post-TBI (8.9%). New onset PTS incidence was greatest between discharge from inpatient rehabilitation and year 1 (9.2%). Late PTS cumulative incidence from injury to year 1 was 11.9%, and reached 20.5% by year 5. Immediate/early PTS RR (2.04) was increased for those undergoing surgical evacuation procedures. Late PTS RR was significantly greater for individuals who self-identified as a race other than black/white (year 1 RR = 2.22), and for black individuals (year 5 RR = 3.02) versus white individuals. Late PTS was greater for individuals with subarachnoid hemorrhage (year 1 RR = 2.06) and individuals age 23–32 (year 5 RR = 2.43) and 33–44 (year 5 RR = 3.02). Late PTS RR years 1 and 5 was significantly higher for those undergoing surgical evacuation procedures (RR: 3.05 and 2.72, respectively). Significance: In this prospective, longitudinal, observational study, PTS incidence was similar to that in studies published previously. Individuals with immediate/late seizures during acute hospitalization have increased late PTS risk. Race, intracranial pathologies, and neurosurgical procedures also influenced PTS RR. Further studies are needed to examine the impact of seizure prophylaxis in high-risk subgroups and to delineate contributors to race/age associations on long-term seizure outcomes.
  • Published In

  • Epilepsia  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Ritter AC; Wagner AK; Fabio A; Pugh MJ; Walker WC; Szaflarski JP; Zafonte RD; Brown AW; Hammond FM; Bushnik T
  • Start Page

  • 1968
  • End Page

  • 1977
  • Volume

  • 57
  • Issue

  • 12