More coordinated care could improve outcomes for children with epilepsy, according to a newly released report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report, released Nov. 7, highlights the importance of making sure children with epilepsy have timely access to healthcare and social services to help reduce the risk of death.
Researchers studied mortality among children with epilepsy in South Carolina between 2000 and 2011. The overall mortality rate among children with epilepsy was 8.8 deaths per 1,000 person-years, with the yearly risk for death being 0.84%, the report stated. During the study period, researchers looked at 13,099 children with epilepsy aged 0 to 18. The average age of diagnoses for the cohort was 8 years old, according to the report. The increased risk was associated with other conditions also present, including heart disease and birth defects. More than one-third of deaths were linked to developmental conditions and brain disorders, including epilepsy-related conditions, the report said. At the same time, about one in nine deaths was associated with injuries.
Children with epilepsy were shown to have a higher risk of death compared to children in the same age group without epilepsy the report said. When looking at race, gender and where the children lived, researchers found no significant differences between those with epilepsy who died and those who survived. Children who had epilepsy and died were more likely to have Medicare as their primary insurance and were less likely to be uninsured.
Still, researchers also said children with epilepsy were more likely to live in lower income households and have higher levels of unmet needs because many of those children dont have as much access to specialized care.
A brain disorder characterized by recurring seizures, epilepsy affects about 2.3 million adults and 450,000 children in the U.S., according to the CDC. A significant number of parents of children with epilepsy 87% said they need care coordination, with 45% of those parents having unmet needs, the report stated.
Ensuring appropriate and timely healthcare and social services for children with epilepsy, especially those with complications, might reduce the risk for premature death, researchers wrote. Healthcare providers, social service providers, advocacy groups, and others interested in improving outcomes for children with epilepsy can work together to assess whether coordinated care for these children can prevent complications associated with epilepsy and reduce their risk for premature death.
Read the full report at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/wk/mm6344.pdf.