A needs assessment of pediatric epilepsy surgery in Haiti

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  • 1 Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec;
  • 2 Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal, Quebec;
  • 3 Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Ontario;
  • 4 Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada;
  • 5 Department of Neurosurgery, UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, California;
  • 6 Division of Neurosurgery, Sainte-Justine Hospital, Montreal, Quebec;
  • 7 Division of Neurosurgery, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario;
  • 8 Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto, Ontario; and
  • 9 Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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OBJECTIVE

Epilepsy disproportionately affects low- and/or middle-income countries (LMICs). Surgical treatments for epilepsy are potentially curative and cost-effective and may improve quality of life and reduce social stigmas. In the current study, the authors estimate the potential need for a surgical epilepsy program in Haiti by applying contemporary epilepsy surgery referral guidelines to a population of children assessed at the Clinique d’Épilepsie de Port-au-Prince (CLIDEP).

METHODS

The authors reviewed 812 pediatric patient records from the CLIDEP, the only pediatric epilepsy referral center in Haiti. Clinical covariates and seizure outcomes were extracted from digitized charts. Electroencephalography (EEG) and neuroimaging reports were further analyzed to determine the prevalence of focal epilepsy or surgically amenable syndromes and to assess the lesional causes of epilepsy in Haiti. Lastly, the toolsforepilepsy instrument was applied to determine the proportion of patients who met the criteria for epilepsy surgery referral.

RESULTS

Two-thirds of the patients at CLIDEP (543/812) were determined to have epilepsy based on clinical and diagnostic evaluations. Most of them (82%, 444/543) had been evaluated with interictal EEG, 88% of whom (391/444) had abnormal findings. The most common finding was a unilateral focal abnormality (32%, 125/391). Neuroimaging, a prerequisite for applying the epilepsy surgery referral criteria, had been performed in only 58 patients in the entire CLIDEP cohort, 39 of whom were eventually diagnosed with epilepsy. Two-thirds (26/39) of those patients had abnormal findings on neuroimaging. Most patients (55%, 18/33) assessed with the toolsforepilepsy application met the criteria for epilepsy surgery referral.

CONCLUSIONS

The authors’ findings suggest that many children with epilepsy in Haiti could benefit from being evaluated at a center with the capacity to perform basic brain imaging and neurosurgical treatments.

ABBREVIATIONS AED = antiepileptic drug; CLIDEP = Clinique d’Épilepsie de Port-au-Prince; EEG = electroencephalography; HIC = high-income country; LMICs = low- and/or middle-income countries.

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Contributor Notes

Correspondence George M. Ibrahim: Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada. george.ibrahim@sickkids.ca.

INCLUDE WHEN CITING Published online November 27, 2020; DOI: 10.3171/2020.7.PEDS20256.

Disclosures The authors report no conflict of interest concerning the materials or methods used in this study or the findings specified in this paper.

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