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~5 Percent Have Seizure While Driving Prior to Epilepsy Diagnosis

Most of the seizures while driving were focal with impaired awareness; many had no recollection of accident

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, June 9, 2023 (HealthDay News) — About 5 percent of people have a seizure while driving (SzWD) prior to being diagnosed with epilepsy, according to a study published online June 7 in Neurology.

Benjamin Bases, from the Tulane University Undergraduate School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, and colleagues conducted a retrospective cohort study using the Human Epilepsy Project to identify prediagnostic SzWD in people with epilepsy.

The researchers identified 32 prediagnostic SzWD among 23 of 447 participants (5.1 percent). Seven of these (30.4 percent) had more than one SzWD. An SzWD was experienced by six participants (26.1 percent) as their first seizure. Most of the SzWD (84.4 percent) were focal with impaired awareness. Six of the participants (42.9 percent) who had motor vehicle accidents had no recollection. In 11 people, SzWD led to hospitalization. The median time from first seizure to first SzWD was 304 days, while there was a median of 64 days between first SzWD to diagnosis. The risk for SzWD was increased 3.95-fold in association with employment, while nonmotor seizures were associated with a 4.79-fold increased risk.

“Our study sought to define how often seizures happen while driving before a diagnosis and then how long it takes before a person is diagnosed,” a coauthor said in a statement. “Our results can then help inform how to diagnose people sooner, with a goal of lowering the number of prediagnosis seizures on the road.”

Several authors disclosed ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

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