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    ABSTRACT: In this large-scale, multinational, descriptive survey, we sought to identify measures for improving treatment outcomes for individuals with epilepsy. As a framework, questions relating specifically to each of the five steps of the ‘patient–physician journey’, namely, patient identification (omitted in this survey), diagnosis, choice of drug, disease and drug information, and patient monitoring were asked. Overall, 337 physicians and 1150 patients across France, Germany, and the United States returned questionnaires. Results indicated that 16% of the patients were initially misdiagnosed. Treatment choice was driven by efficacy, safety, experience with a drug (physician only), and convenience (patient only). Physicians were identified as the primary source of information for patients, and, as expected, better informed patients were found to adhere better to their therapy than those who were less well informed. Approximately 50% of the patients had not seen their specialist in the last year, which indicates poor follow-up; furthermore, important topics such as seizures, treatment, and its side effects were not discussed at every visit. Specialists, but not primary care practitioners (PCPs), consistently reported discussing all topics more frequently than their patients, suggesting that specialists may overestimate the clarity of their questions. There was also substantial disparity in the reasons cited for nonadherence — patients overwhelmingly cited forgetfulness, while both PCPs and specialists cited complacency, forgetfulness, and tolerability. We also noted a disparity between physicians and their patients, as well as between PCPs and specialists, in their views on the impact of epilepsy on patients' lives. Our results indicate multiple opportunities to intervene at all stages of the patient–physician journey to improve treatment outcomes. We provide practical suggestions to achieve the most from these opportunities.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Epilepsy & Behavior
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    ABSTRACT: Objective Epilepsy surgery is the most effective treatment for select patients with drug-resistant epilepsy. In this article, we aim to provide an accurate understanding of the current epidemiologic characteristics of this intervention, as this knowledge is critical for guiding educational, academic, and resource priorities.Methods We profile the practice of epilepsy surgery between 1991 and 2011 in nine major epilepsy surgery centers in the United States, Germany, and Australia. Clinical, imaging, surgical, and histopathologic data were derived from the surgical databases at various centers.ResultsAlthough five of the centers performed their highest number of surgeries for mesial temporal sclerosis (MTS) in 1991, and three had their highest number of MTS surgeries in 2001, only one center achieved its peak number of MTS surgeries in 2011. The most productive year for MTS surgeries varied then by center; overall, the nine centers surveyed performed 48% (95% confidence interval [CI] −27.3% to −67.4%) fewer such surgeries in 2011 compared to either 1991 or 2001, whichever was higher. There was a parallel increase in the performance of surgery for nonlesional epilepsy. Further analysis of 5/9 centers showed a yearly increase of 0.6 ± 0.07% in the performance of invasive electroencephalography (EEG) without subsequent resections. Overall, although MTS was the main surgical substrate in 1991 and 2001 (proportion of total surgeries in study centers ranging from 33.3% to 70.2%); it occupied only 33.6% of all resections in 2011 in the context of an overall stable total surgical volume.SignificanceThese findings highlight the major aspects of the evolution of epilepsy surgery across the past two decades in a sample of well-established epilepsy surgery centers, and the critical current challenges of this treatment option in addressing complex epilepsy cases requiring detailed evaluations. Possible causes and implications of these findings are discussed.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Epilepsia
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    ABSTRACT: Up to half of patients assessed for suspected new-onset epileptic seizures report previous undiagnosed events. This suggests that delay to timely and expert assessment is a major issue. Very little is known about the degree of delay or nature of the undiagnosed events, impacting on our understanding of new-onset epilepsy. In this study we aimed to examine events that occur before presentation, as well as the extent and risk factors for delay to assessment. Included in this retrospective study were 220 patients diagnosed at the First Seizure Clinic (Austin Health, Australia) between 2003 and 2006 with an epileptic index seizure. Patients with a prior diagnosis of epileptic seizures were excluded. Chart review was undertaken, including detailed interviews conducted by an epileptologist at first assessment. Logistic regression assessed risk factors for delay from first event to presentation, including event characteristics, socioeconomic disadvantage, employment, and distance to medical facility. Forty-one percent (n = 90) of patients had one or more event before their index seizure. Of these, 50% had multiple or more than five prior events and 28% experienced one or more convulsive event before the index seizure. Of the total 220 patients, 36% had delayed presentation >4 weeks, 21% delayed >6 months, and 14% delayed >2 years. First events without convulsions or features likely to disrupt behaviour were strongly associated with delay (p = <0.001). Relative socioeconomic disadvantage was also associated with delay to presentation (p = 0.04). Our findings suggest a gap in early diagnosis and care in a sizable proportion of new-onset cases, despite a "first world" urban environment and the availability of free basic medical care. Delay appears particularly likely when events are nonconvulsive or low-impact, suggesting that these seizure types may be underrepresented in studies of new-onset epilepsy. This has implications for our understanding of the incidence, evolution, impact, and treatment response of new-onset epilepsy. Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2015 International League Against Epilepsy.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2015 · Epilepsia