Object. The reported incidence, timing, and predictive factors of perioperative seizures and epilepsy after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) have differed considerably because of a lack of uniform definitions and variable follow-up periods. In this study the authors evaluate the incidence, temporal course, and predictive factors of perioperative seizures and epilepsy during long-term follow up of patients with SAH who underwent surgical treatment.
Methods. Two hundred seventeen patients who survived more than 2 years after surgery for ruptured intracranial aneurysms were enrolled and retrospectively studied. Episodes were categorized into onset seizures (≤ 12 hours of initial hemorrhage), preoperative seizures, postoperative seizures, and late epilepsy, according to their timing.
The mean follow-up time was 78.7 months (range 24–157 months). Forty-six patients (21.2%) had at least one seizure post-SAH. Seventeen patients (7.8%) had onset seizures, five (2.3%) had preoperative seizures, four (1.8%) had postoperative seizures, 21 (9.7%) had at least one seizure episode after the 1st week postoperatively, and late epilepsy developed in 15 (6.9%). One (3.8%) of 26 patients with perioperative seizures (onset, preoperative, or postoperative seizure) had late epilepsy at follow up. The mean latency between the operation and the onset of late epilepsy was 8.3 months (range 0.3–19 months). Younger age (< 40 years old), loss of consciousness of more than 1 hour at ictus, and Fisher Grade 3 or greater on computerized tomography scans proved to be significantly related to onset seizures. Onset seizure was also a significant predictor of persistent neurological deficits (Glasgow Outcome Scale Scores 2–4) at follow up. Factors associated with the development of late epilepsy were loss of consciousness of more than 1 hour at ictus and persistent postoperative neurological deficit.
Conclusions. Although up to one fifth of patients experienced seizure(s) after SAH, more than half had seizure(s) during the perioperative period. The frequency of late epilepsy in patients with perioperative seizures (7.8%) was not significantly higher than those without such seizures (6.8%). Perioperative seizures did not recur frequently and were not a significant predictor for late epilepsy.