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Epilepsia ; 61(6): 1166-1173, 2020 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-143876


OBJECTIVE: To compare the severity of psychological distress between patients with epilepsy and healthy controls during the COVID-19 outbreak in southwest China, as well as identify potential risk factors of severe psychological distress among patients with epilepsy. METHODS: This cross-sectional case-control study examined a consecutive sample of patients older than 15 years treated at the epilepsy center of West China Hospital between February 1 and February 29, 2020. As controls, sex- and age-matched healthy visitors of inpatients (unrelated to the patients) were also enrolled during the same period. Data on demographics and attention paid to COVID-19 were collected by online questionnaire, data on epilepsy features were collected from electronic medical records, and psychological distress was evaluated using the 6-item Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K-6). Potential risk factors of severe psychological distress were identified using multivariate logistic regression. RESULTS: The 252 patients and 252 controls in this study were similar along all demographic variables except family income. Patients with epilepsy showed significantly higher K-6 scores than healthy controls and spent significantly more time following the COVID-19 outbreak (both P < .001). Univariate analyses associated both diagnosis of drug-resistant epilepsy and time spent paying attention to COVID-19 with severe psychological distress (defined as K-6 score >12; both P ≤ .001). Multivariate logistic regression identified two independent predictors of severe psychological distress: time spent paying attention to COVID-19 (odds ratio [OR] = 1.172, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.073-1.280) and diagnosis of drug-resistant epilepsy (OR = 0.283, 95% CI = 0.128-0.623). SIGNIFICANCE: During public health outbreaks, clinicians and caregivers should focus not only on seizure control but also on mental health of patients with epilepsy, especially those with drug-resistant epilepsy. K-6 scores > 12 indicate severe psychological distress. This may mean, for example, encouraging patients to engage in other activities instead of excessively following media coverage of the outbreak.

Anxiety/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections , Depression/epidemiology , Epilepsy/epidemiology , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , Psychological Distress , Adolescent , Adult , Anxiety/psychology , Attention , Betacoronavirus , Case-Control Studies , China/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Depression/psychology , Disease Outbreaks , Drug Resistant Epilepsy/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Male , Severity of Illness Index , Time Factors , Young Adult