Expeditions in epidemiologic studies of new onset epilepsy in older adults: Stake your claims

Academic Article


  • OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence, incidence, and predictors of epilepsy among older adults in the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS). METHODS: We analyzed data prospectively collected in CHS and merged with data from outpatient Medicare administrative claims. We identified cases with epilepsy using self-report, antiepileptic medication, hospitalization discharge ICD-9 codes, and outpatient Medicare ICD-9 codes. We used Cox proportional hazards regression to identify factors independently associated with incident epilepsy. RESULTS: At baseline, 42% of the 5,888 participants were men and 84% were white. At enrollment, 3.7% (215 of 5,888) met the criteria for prevalent epilepsy. During 14 years of follow-up totaling 48,651 person-years, 120 participants met the criteria for incident epilepsy, yielding an incidence rate of 2.47 per 1,000 person-years. The period prevalence of epilepsy by the end of follow-up was 5.7% (335 of 5,888). Epilepsy incidence rates were significantly higher among blacks than nonblacks: 4.44 vs 2.17 per 1,000 person-years (p, 0.001). In multivariable analyses, risk of incident epilepsy was significantly higher among blacks compared to nonblacks (hazard ratio [HR] 4.04, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.99-8.17), those 75 to 79 compared to those 65 to 69 years of age (HR 2.07, 95%CI 1.21-3.55), and those with history of stroke (HR 3.49, 95% CI 1.37-8.88). CONCLUSIONS: Epilepsy in older adults in the United States was common. Blacks, the very old, and those with history of stroke have a higher risk of incident epilepsy. The association with race remains unexplained.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Epilepsy Currents  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Martin RC
  • Start Page

  • 368
  • End Page

  • 369
  • Volume

  • 17
  • Issue

  • 6