October 29th, 2018

Posttraumatic epilepsy (PTE) is a recurrent seizure disorder that results from brain damage caused by traumatic brain injury (TBI).

The Vietnam Head Injury Study (VHIS) was a follow-up of 1,221 Vietnam War veterans with mostly penetrating head injuries (PHIs). The high number of Vietnam War veterans (45%-53%) with posttraumatic epilepsy made for a valuable study.

The veterans were assessed over five to seven days at the National Naval Medical Centre, Bethesda, Maryland, USA. The study found that patients with injuries that penetrated the skull had a the highest risk of posttraumatic epilepsy decades after their injury, and so require long-term medical follow-up.

This study was the first to follow-up a set of veterans over an extensive period, partly as a result of an increased survival rate compared with previous studies.

Given the high occurrence of traumatic brain injury, the study concluded that screening for posttraumatic epilepsy should be a vital component of the long-term care of those with penetrating traumatic brain injury.

To read the full medical article as written by our consultant neuropsychiatrist Dr Vanessa Raymont and her colleagues, click here.