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September 1997

Childhood Absence Epilepsy and Accidents

Author Affiliations

Neuropediatric Unit University Children's Hospital 1011 Lausanne, Switzerland

Arch Neurol. 1997;54(9):1063. doi:10.1001/archneur.1997.00550210007002

In the September 1996 issue of the Archives, Wirrell et al1 report the results of a study (based on the disputable method of telephone interview) of 59 patients with typical absence epilepsy who were asked about accidents having possibly occurred during an absence seizure. All patients were older than 18 years at the time of the interview.

Sixteen patients (27%) reported a total of 49 accidents (mainly bicycle and car crash) during a period of 542 person-years of absence seizures. Eight patients did not seek medical treatment, and 4 were seen by the family physician or admitted to an emergency department without treatment being given. Two required sutures, and 2 received concussions as a result of traffic accidents. None had sequelae. Not surprisingly, this was more than a control group with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

Considering the number of years at risk, these figures are highly reassuring and do not

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