Research Article

Epilepsy in the first 10 years of life: findings of the child health and education study.

BMJ 1992; 305 doi: (Published 10 October 1992) Cite this as: BMJ 1992;305:857
  1. C. M. Verity,
  2. E. M. Ross,
  3. J. Golding
  1. Department of Paediatrics, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge.


    OBJECTIVES--To identify children with afebrile seizures in a national cohort, classify the seizures, and document progress in the first 10 years of life. DESIGN--Population based birth cohort study. SETTING--The child health and education study, which includes 16,004 neonatal survivors (98.5% of infants born in the United Kingdom during one week of April 1970). SUBJECTS--14,676 children for whom relevant information was available. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Responses to parental and general practitioner questionnaires and hospital records at 5 and 10 years after birth. RESULTS--84 children (42 boys, 42 girls) had had one or more afebrile seizure (incidence 5.7/1000). 63 children (31 boys, 32 girls) had epilepsy (incidence 4.3/1000). 49 of 55 children had a second seizure within a year of the first. The commonest seizure types were tonic-clonic (42) and complex partial (25). A greater proportion of children with complex partial seizures had recurrences. Children who had infantile spasms or a mixed seizure disorder had a poor outcome. All six children who died had symptomatic seizures in the first year, but seizures were not the direct cause of death. CONCLUSIONS--The results of this study are probably representative of seizure patterns in the general population. Outcome after seizures is determined more by the underlying disease than by the seizures themselves.