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1.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(24)2021 12 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1580738

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Italy implemented two national lockdowns aimed at reducing virus transmission. We assessed whether these lockdowns affected anti-seizure medication (ASM) use and epilepsy-related access to emergency departments (ED) in the general population. METHODS: We performed a population-based study using the healthcare administrative database of Tuscany. We defined the weekly time series of prevalence and incidence of ASM, along with the incidence of epilepsy-related ED access from 1 January 2018 to 27 December 2020 in the general population. An interrupted time-series analysis was used to assess the effect of lockdowns on the observed outcomes. RESULTS: Compared to pre-lockdown, we observed a relevant reduction of ASM incidence (0.65; 95% Confidence Intervals: 0.59-0.72) and ED access (0.72; 0.64-0.82), and a slight decrease of ASM prevalence (0.95; 0.94-0.96). During the post-lockdown the ASM incidence reported higher values compared to pre-lockdown, whereas ASM prevalence and ED access remained lower. Results also indicate a lower impact of the second lockdown for both ASM prevalence (0.97; 0.96-0.98) and incidence (0.89; 0.80-0.99). CONCLUSION: The lockdowns implemented during the COVID-19 outbreaks significantly affected ASM use and epilepsy-related ED access. The potential consequences of these phenomenon are still unknown, although an increased incidence of epilepsy-related symptoms after the first lockdown has been observed. These findings emphasize the need of ensuring continuous care of epileptic patients in stressful conditions such as the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Epilepsy , Pharmaceutical Preparations , Communicable Disease Control , Emergency Service, Hospital , Epilepsy/drug therapy , Epilepsy/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
2.
Seizure ; 94: 136-141, 2022 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1550074

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Studies examining epilepsy as a COVID-related death risk have come to conflicting conclusions. Our aim was to assess the prevalence of epilepsy among COVID-related deaths in Hungary. METHODS: Each COVID-19 infection case is required to be reported on a daily basis to the National Public Health Center of Hungary. This online report includes the beginning and end of the infection, as well as information on comorbidities. Death during infection is regarded as COVID-related. The anonymized data of each deceased patient are published on an information website (www.koronavirus.gov.hu) and provides up-to-date information on each patient with the date of death, the patient's sex, age, and chronic illness. RESULTS: There were 11,968 patients who died of COVID-19 in Hungary between 13 March 2020 and 23 January 2021. Among 11,686 patients with no missing values for comorbidities, 255 patients had epilepsy (2.2%). Epilepsy was much more common among those who died at a young age: 9.3% of those who died under the age of 50 had epilepsy, compared with only 1.3% in those over the age of 80. The younger an age group was, the higher was the prevalence of epilepsy. CONCLUSION: Patients who died of COVID-19 under the age of 50 were 10 to 20 times more likely to have epilepsy than what would have been expected from epidemiological data. Our results highlight the need for increased protection of young people with epilepsy from COVID-19 infection and the development of a vaccination strategy accordingly.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Epilepsy , Adolescent , Child , Epilepsy/epidemiology , Humans , Hungary/epidemiology , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2
3.
Epilepsia ; 62(11): 2732-2740, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1379573

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: Health systems make a sizeable contribution to national emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to global climate change. The UK National Health Service is committed to being a net zero emitter by 2040, and a potential contribution to this target could come from reductions in patient travel. Achieving this will require actions at many levels. We sought to determine potential savings and risks over the short term from telemedicine through virtual clinics. METHODS: During the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-2-CoV) pandemic, scheduled face-to-face epilepsy clinics at a specialist site were replaced by remote teleclinics. We used a standard methodology applying conversion factors to calculate emissions based on the total saved travel distance. A further conversion factor was used to derive emissions associated with electricity consumption to deliver remote clinics from which net savings could be calculated. Patients' records and clinicians were interrogated to identify any adverse clinical outcomes. RESULTS: We found that enforced telemedicine delivery for over 1200 patients resulted in the saving of ~224 000 km of travel with likely avoided emissions in the range of 35 000-40 000 kg carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2 e) over a six and half month period. Emissions arising directly from remote delivery were calculated to be <200 kg CO2 e (~0.5% of those for travel), representing a significant net reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Only one direct adverse outcome was identified, with some additional benefits identified anecdotally. SIGNIFICANCE: The use of telemedicine can make a contribution toward reduced emissions in the health care sector and, in the delivery of specialized epilepsy services, had minimal adverse clinical outcomes over the short term. However, these outcomes will likely vary with clinic locations, medical specialties and conditions.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Carbon Dioxide/analysis , Delivery of Health Care/trends , Epilepsy/epidemiology , State Medicine/trends , Telemedicine/trends , COVID-19/prevention & control , Epilepsy/therapy , Humans , Travel/trends , United Kingdom/epidemiology
4.
Seizure ; 92: 100-105, 2021 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1373265

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: The recent COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted care systems around the world. We assessed the impact of COVID-19 lockdown on the care of pediatric patients with epilepsy in Jordan. Potential predictors for seizure control during COVID-19 outbreaks were investigated. METHODS: A cross- sectional survey was conducted on pediatric patients with epilepsy in Jordan, between January and February 2021, via online questionnaires. The collected data included demographic information, epilepsy-related characteristics, views of caregivers and changes in seizure control during COVID-19 outbreak. RESULTS: A total number of 672 subjects were screened, 276 were eligible, and 154 completed the questionnaire adequately. Two thirds of caregivers (66.2%) reported that the COVID -19 outbreaks prevented their child from getting proper epilepsy care and 28.6% reported difficulty giving the drugs to their child on time because of loss of daily routine. In addition, more than half (55.8%) reported difficulty obtaining antiseizure medicines (ASMs). On the other hand, 77.3% of caregivers reported that seizure status remained unchanged or improved for their children during the COVID-19 and 22.7% reported worsened seizure control. The number of antiseizure medicines taken by patients (p < 0.001), age (p = 0.032), residency area (p = 0.013) and the difficulty in giving the medicine during COVID-19 pandemic (p = 0.002) were the major factors influencing the seizure worsening experienced by patients. CONCLUSION: Almost one of every five patients reported worsened seizure control during the outbreak of COVID-19 in Jordan. Moreover, two thirds of caregivers reported poor epilepsy care. This finding highlights the need to implement organized and efficient telemedicine programs devoted to epilepsy care.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Epilepsy , Caregivers , Child , Communicable Disease Control , Epilepsy/drug therapy , Epilepsy/epidemiology , Humans , Jordan/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires
5.
Clin Neurophysiol ; 132(9): 2248-2250, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1366484

ABSTRACT

Restructuring of healthcare services during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to lockdown of Epilepsy Monitoring Units (EMUs) in many hospitals. The ad-hoc taskforce of the International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) and the International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology (IFCN) highlights the detrimental effect of postponing video-EEG monitoring of patients with epilepsy and other paroxysmal events. The taskforce calls for action to continue functioning of Epilepsy Monitoring Units during emergency situations, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Long-term video-EEG monitoring is an essential diagnostic service. Access to video-EEG monitoring of the patients in the EMUs must be given high priority. Patients should be screened for COVID-19, before admission, according to the local regulations. Local policies for COVID-19 infection control should be adhered to during the video-EEG monitoring. In cases of differential diagnosis where reduction of antiseizure medication is not required, consider home video-EEG monitoring as an alternative in selected patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/prevention & control , Communicable Disease Control/standards , Electroencephalography/standards , Epilepsy/diagnosis , Health Services Accessibility/standards , Neurophysiology/standards , COVID-19/epidemiology , Communicable Disease Control/methods , Consensus , Electroencephalography/methods , Epilepsy/epidemiology , Epilepsy/physiopathology , Humans , Internationality , Monitoring, Physiologic/methods , Monitoring, Physiologic/standards , Neurophysiology/methods
6.
Epilepsy Behav ; 123: 108255, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1364517

ABSTRACT

Although psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES) are a common neurologic condition, there remains a paucity of literature on the COVID-19 pandemic's effect on these patients. Using a cross-sectional questionnaire study, our group examined the experience of patients with PNES at a single Comprehensive Epilepsy Center in New York City, the epicenter of the initial COVID-19 outbreak in the United States. Among our cohort of 18 subjects with PNES, 22.2% reported an improvement in seizure control during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City. Compared to the cohort of subjects with epilepsy without PNES, subjects with PNES were significantly more likely to report an improvement (p = 0.033). Our findings signal that sleep and stress may be relevant variables in both conditions that should be further investigated and potentially intervened upon. Larger dedicated studies of patients with PNES are needed to understand the impact of the pandemic's widespread societal effects on these patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Epilepsy , Cross-Sectional Studies , Electroencephalography , Epilepsy/epidemiology , Humans , New York City/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Seizures/epidemiology
7.
Epilepsy Behav ; 123: 108261, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1347861

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on people and healthcare services. The disruption to chronic illnesses, such as epilepsy, may relate to several factors ranging from direct infection to secondary effects from healthcare reorganization and social distancing measures. OBJECTIVES: As part of the COVID-19 and Epilepsy (COV-E) global study, we ascertained the effects of COVID-19 on people with epilepsy in Brazil, based on their perspectives and those of their caregivers. We also evaluated the impact of COVID-19 on the care delivered to people with epilepsy by healthcare workers. METHODS: We designed separate online surveys for people with epilepsy and their caregivers. A further survey for healthcare workers contained additional assessments of changes to working patterns, productivity, and concerns for those with epilepsy under their care. The Brazilian arm of COV-E initially collected data from May to November 2020 during the country's first wave. We also examined national data to identify the Brazilian states with the highest COVID-19 incidence and related mortality. Lastly, we applied this geographic grouping to our data to explore whether local disease burden played a direct role in difficulties faced by people with epilepsy. RESULTS: Two hundred and forty-one people returned the survey, 20% were individuals with epilepsy (n = 48); 22% were caregivers (n = 53), and 58% were healthcare workers (n = 140). Just under half (43%) of people with epilepsy reported health changes during the pandemic, including worsening seizure control, with specific issues related to stress and impaired mental health. Of respondents prescribed antiseizure medication, 11% reported difficulty taking medication on time due to problems acquiring prescriptions and delayed or canceled medical appointments. Only a small proportion of respondents reported discussing significant epilepsy-related risks in the previous 12 months. Analysis of national COVID-19 data showed a higher disease burden in the states of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro compared to Brazil as a whole. There were, however, no geographic differences observed in survey responses despite variability in the incidence of COVID-19. CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that Brazilians with epilepsy have been adversely affected by COVID-19 by factors beyond infection or mortality. Mental health issues and the importance of optimal communication are critical during these difficult times. Healthcare services need to find nuanced approaches and learn from shared international experiences to provide optimal care for people with epilepsy as the direct burden of COVID-19 improves in some countries. In contrast, others face resurgent waves of the pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Epilepsy , Brazil/epidemiology , Epilepsy/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
8.
Epilepsy Behav ; 122: 108229, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1345499

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted admission to epilepsy monitoring units (EMUs) for classification and presurgical evaluation of patients with refractory epilepsy. We modified the EMU admission protocol via anti-seizure medications (ASM) withdrawal implemented one day before admission; thus, we aimed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of this modified protocol. METHODS: In January 2021, we initiated ASM tapering 24 h before-rather than on the first day after-EMU admission, contrasting with the previous protocol. We retrospectively reviewed EMU admissions between January and April of 2018, 2019, and 2021, and identified the time required to record the first seizure, and EMU yield to confirm or change the epilepsy classification. We also evaluated the safety of the modified protocol, by monitoring the seizure frequency for up to 5 months after the discharge from the hospital. RESULTS: One hundred four patients were included (mean age: 30 years, men: 43%); excluding a longer disease duration and abundance of normal routine electro-encephalogram (EEG) in patients admitted before the pandemic, no differences were observed in patients' characteristics. On average, it took 41 h and 21 h to record the first seizure using the standard and modified protocols, respectively (p < 0.001, 95% CI: 10-30). Other characteristics were investigated both before and after the COVID-19 pandemic, and epilepsy classifications were confirmed twice using the modified protocol (OR = 2.4, p = 0.04, 95% CI: 1.1-5.5). Multivariate regression analysis confirmed the shorter time to record the first seizure using the modified admission protocol (23 h less, p < 0.001; 95% CI: 12-34). Finally, 36 (86%) patients admitted during the pandemic exhibited no increase in seizure frequency after the discharge from the hospital. CONCLUSIONS: Initiating ASM withdrawal one day before EMU admission was deemed to be an efficient and safe way to confirm epilepsy classification and significantly decrease the length of hospital stay. Ultimately, this will shorten the long waiting list for EMU admission created by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Epilepsy , Adult , Electroencephalography , Epilepsy/drug therapy , Epilepsy/epidemiology , Humans , Male , Monitoring, Physiologic , Pandemics , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
9.
Epilepsy Behav ; 122: 108215, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1307273

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Telehealth use is limited in developing countries. Therefore, a modified approach with early physical consultation was designed and applied in our hospital. This study aimed to determine the efficacy of this early physical consultation in reducing the clinical and psychological impacts of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19), which enabled insight into its global feasibility. METHOD: Participants were contacted and offered early physical consultation with a neurologist. Patients who participated in the Phase 1 study on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with epilepsy and treated in our hospital were recruited. Clinical and psychological outcomes of COVID-19 were assessed with the Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale (HADS) and Quality of Life in Epilepsy Inventory (QOLIE-31). RESULT: A total of 312 patients completed this study with a mean age of 39.13 ±â€¯16.13 years, majority female (51.0%), and experienced seizures at least once yearly (64.7%). There was 12.6% who experienced seizure worsening related to the COVID-19 pandemic. After receiving early clinical intervention, 30.8% achieved better seizure control with another 51.1% had no seizure occurrence. The mean HADS anxiety score improved immediately post-intervention (5.27 ±â€¯4.32 vs. 4.79 ±â€¯4.26, p < 0.01), and at 2-week post-intervention (5.58 ±â€¯4.46 vs. 4.73 ±â€¯3.95, p < 0.01). The mean HADS depression score also improved immediately post-intervention (4.12 ±â€¯3.69 vs. 3.84 ±â€¯3.76, p < 0.05) and at 2-week post-intervention (4.38 ±â€¯3.81 vs. 3.73 ±â€¯3.63, p < 0.05). The intervention resulted in significant improvement in energy-fatigue and social function subscales in QOLIE-31 but a reduction in cognitive and medication effects subscales. CONCLUSION: Early physical consultation with stringent precautionary measures is feasible and effective in improving the psychological outcome during COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Epilepsy , Adult , Anxiety/epidemiology , Anxiety/etiology , Depression/epidemiology , Depression/etiology , Epilepsy/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Quality of Life , Referral and Consultation , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires , Young Adult
10.
Epilepsy Behav ; 122: 108193, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1307272

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Although ketogenic diet therapy (KDT) is a well-established, nonpharmacologic therapeutic option for patients with pharmacoresistant epilepsy, its availability is still not widespread. The COVID-19 pandemic may have further restricted the access of people with pharmacoresistant epilepsy (PWE) to KDT. Thus, we evaluated the experiences of Brazilian PWE and their caregivers during the first year of the pandemic. METHODS: An online self-assessed survey containing 25 questions was distributed via social media to be answered by PWE treated with KDT or their caregivers through Google Forms from June 2020 to January 2021. Mental health was assessed using the DASS and NDDI-E scales. RESULTS: Fifty adults (>18 yo), of whom 68% were caregivers, answered the survey. During the pandemic, 40% faced adversities in accessing their usual healthcare professionals and 38% in obtaining anti-seizure medication (ASM). Despite these issues, 66% of those on KDT could comply with their treatment. Those struggling to maintain KDT (34%) named these obstacles mainly: diet costs, social isolation, food availability, and carbohydrate craving due to anxiety or stress. An increase in seizure frequency was observed in 26% of participants, positively associated with difficulties in obtaining ASM [X2 (1, N = 48) = 6.55; p = 0.01], but not with KDT compliance issues. CONCLUSIONS: People with pharmacoresistant epilepsy and undergoing KDT, as well as their caregivers, faced additional challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, not only difficulties in accessing healthcare and KDT maintenance but also on seizure control and mental health.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Diet, Ketogenic , Epilepsy , Adult , Brazil/epidemiology , Caregivers , Epilepsy/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
11.
Epilepsy Behav ; 122: 108184, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1305328

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether published studies that identified a causal relationship between psychological stress and seizure worsening in patients with epilepsy during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic considered the temporality of Hill's criteria. METHOD: A systematic review approach was used to comprehensively search MEDLINE, CENTRAL, EMBASE, and ClinicalTrials.gov databases for relevant studies. Studies that reported an association between psychological stress and seizure worsening in patients with epilepsy during the COVID-19 pandemic were included accordingly. The quality of assessments in each study was evaluated and an assessment for considering temporality in the causal relationship between the two events in each study was carried out. RESULTS: Seventeen studies were included in the analysis. Most (14/17) were cross-sectional studies and only four out of these 17 studies (23.5%) considered temporality in the causality. Further, these four studies did not consider temporality in the study design, they only described it as a limitation. CONCLUSION: We found that many articles reported a causal relationship between psychological stress and seizure worsening without considering temporality. As both researchers and readers, we need to consider temporality when interpreting the causal relationship between increased psychological stress and seizure worsening in patients with epilepsy during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Epilepsy , Cross-Sectional Studies , Epilepsy/complications , Epilepsy/epidemiology , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Seizures/epidemiology , Seizures/etiology , Stress, Psychological/epidemiology , Stress, Psychological/etiology
12.
Epilepsy Behav ; 122: 108178, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1305327

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak impacted the lives of worldwide people with epilepsy (PWE) in various aspects, particularly in those countries most significantly affected by this pandemic, such as Brazil. We aimed to investigate the prevalence of depressive symptoms in PWE and their correlation with epilepsy features and access to treatment. METHODS: PWE were invited to answer a cross-sectional online-based survey to assess and rate depressive symptoms using the NDDI-E during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic and its relation to multiple lifestyles epilepsy clinical aspects. RESULTS: A total of 490 PWE were recruited. The prevalence of depressive symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic was 35.3% (cutoff score > 15 on NDDI-E). The factors associated with higher NDDI-E scores were: female sex, increased seizure frequency, barriers to access to their treating physician and antiseizure medication, and unemployment. Regarding the pandemic impact on PWE healthcare, 29.2% reported restricted access to their medication, 46.1% barriers to access their physicians, 94.2% had their consultations canceled due to the pandemic, and 28.4% had seizure worsening in this period. CONCLUSION: The COVID-19 pandemic affected PWE access to the healthcare system. Depressive symptoms were more severe in patients with higher seizure frequency who had difficulties obtaining proper medical care. The COVID-19 pandemic may impact the healthcare and mental wellbeing of patients with chronic diseases such as epilepsy. Nevertheless, prospective studies on epilepsy and COVID-19 are still lacking.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Epilepsy , Cross-Sectional Studies , Depression/epidemiology , Epilepsy/epidemiology , Female , Health Services Accessibility , Humans , Pandemics , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
13.
Acta Neurol Scand ; 144(4): 450-459, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1290549

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has led to social distancing measures and impaired medical care of chronic neurological diseases, including epilepsy, which may have adversely affected well-being and quality of life of patients with epilepsy (PWE). The objective of this study is to evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the levels of anxiety, depression, somnolence, and quality of life using validated scales in PWE in real-life clinical practice. MATERIALS & METHODS: Self-administered scales of anxiety disorders (GAD-7), depression (NDDI-E), somnolence (Epworth Sleepiness Scale; ESS), and quality of life (QOLIE-31-P) in PWE treated in a Refractory Epilepsy Unit were longitudinally analyzed. Data were collected before the beginning (December 2019 - March 2020) and during the COVID-19 pandemic (September 2020-January 2021). RESULTS: 158 patients (85 from the first round and 73 from the second round) 45.0 ± 17.3 years of age, 43.2% women, epilepsy duration 23.0 ± 14.9 years, number of antiepileptic drugs 2.1 ± 1.4, completed the survey. Significant longitudinal reduction of QOLIE-31-P (from 58.9 ± 19.7 to 56.2 ± 16.2, p = .035) and GAD-7 scores (from 8.8 ± 6.2 to 8.3 ± 5.9, corrected p = .024) was identified. No statistically significant longitudinal changes in the number of seizures (from 0.9 ± 1.9 to 2.5 ± 6.2, p = .125) or NDDI-E scores (from 12.3 ± 4.3 to 13.4 ± 4.4, p = .065) were found. Significant longitudinal increase of ESS (from 4.9 ± 3.7 to 7.4 ± 4.9, p = .001) was found. CONCLUSIONS: During the COVID-19 pandemic, quality of life and anxiety levels were lower in PWE, and sleepiness levels were raised, without seizure change.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Epilepsy , Adult , Depression/epidemiology , Depression/etiology , Epilepsy/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Male , Pandemics , Quality of Life , SARS-CoV-2
14.
Epilepsy Behav ; 122: 108115, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1272803

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: During COVID-19 pandemic the global population is facing an important psychosocial distress. The aim of this study was to evaluate how people with epilepsy (PWE) in Brazil is dealing with the pandemic, in relation to seizure frequency, access to antiseizure medicines (ASM), medical follow-up, and well-being. METHODS: An online questionnaire survey among PWE (group 1) and caregivers (group 2) was applied in the social networks of the Brazilian Association of Epilepsy, the official Brazilian chapter of the International Bureau for Epilepsy. The questionnaire was composed of 46 generic questions in four areas, namely, demographics and baseline clinical data as well as epilepsy and quality-of-life impact by COVID-19 pandemic based on the domains of the abbreviated World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL-BREF) instrument. RESULTS: The questionnaire was answered by 464 participants including 380 (81.9%) PWE (78.7% female; age 34.3 yrs.; ±9.76) and 84 (18.1%) caregivers (patients' age 14.1 yrs.; ±10.30). During the COVID-19 pandemic, 36.8% of PWE and 36.4% of caregivers reported difficulties in accessing the epilepsy healthcare provider, and visits occurred normally only in 29.7% of PWE and in 34.5% of the caregivers group. Telehealth was not provided for 66.6% of group 1 and for 58.5% of group 2. Lack of availability of ASM was reported by 21.9% of PWE and 28.0% of caregivers in public dispensing units and by 19.2% and 17.8%, respectively, in private pharmacies. Increase in seizures during pandemic was mentioned by 26.3% and 27.9% of groups 1 and 2, respectively. Patients who had increase in seizure frequency had more frequently reported problems with treatment and in quality-of-life concepts. Fear of having a more severe COVID-19 presentation because of epilepsy was reported by 74.5% of PWE and by 89.8% of caregivers. Dissatisfaction with current health status was reported by 36.7% and 38.1% in groups 1 and 2, respectively, and that the support from others has decreased (56.1% and 66.1%, in groups 1 and 2) during the pandemic. The factors with higher Odds Ratio of increase in seizure frequency during pandemic were age >41 yrs., treatment in public healthcare system, drug-resistant epilepsy, adversities in getting ASM in public dispensing units, difficulties with prescription renewals, current financial problems and belief that epilepsy or ASM are risk factors for contracting COVID-19. CONCLUSION: During COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil, PWE and caregivers reported increase in seizures in one-fourth of the patients and several difficulties, namely problems in accessing the healthcare system including ASM dispensation, telehealth, and fear of having a more severe COVID-19 because of epilepsy. There were also physical, psychological, and social concerns which affected quality-of-life-related aspects in this population. These facts may increase treatment gap in epilepsy in Brazil as well in other developing countries.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Epilepsy , Adolescent , Adult , Brazil/epidemiology , Epilepsy/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Male , Pandemics , Quality of Life , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires
15.
Seizure ; 91: 60-65, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1253625

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: Analyzing parents' and physicians' opinions regarding phone-based encounters in emergency shifts of a French pediatric epilepsy center compared to traditional face-to-face encounters during the first lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic METHODS: Prospective monocentric study on remote encounters at Necker rare epilepsy reference center from March 20th, 2020 to April 23rd, 2020 due to lockdown measures. This study was conducted with a survey based on 5-point Likert scales (LS-2/2) designed for both parents and physicians. We compared first versus follow-up encounters as well as physicians' and parents' opinions. RESULTS: We had a total of 224 responses, among which 204 were completed by physicians (91%) and 173 (84,4%) by parents. Twenty five were first encounters (14,2%). Physicians pointed out the need for clinical examination (42.6%), mainly for first encounters (p=0.0004). Physicians rated the quality of communication lower (p=0.003) as their capacity to answer parents' questions (p=0.004). They were significantly less satisfied with remote encounters compared to parents (p<10-4). We identified six urgent (2.9%) and 50 semi-urgent (24%) situations requiring programming face-to-face encounter during or shortly after the lockdown. CONCLUSION: Remote encounters could be a helpful practice for pediatric patients with epilepsy in emergency situations such as pandemics. It allowed the identification and prioritization of emergency situations. Physicians were less positive than parents. We raised the possible use of remote encounters in association to face-to-face encounters for routine follow-up of pediatric patients with epilepsy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Epilepsy , Physicians , Telemedicine , Child , Communicable Disease Control , Epilepsy/epidemiology , Epilepsy/therapy , Humans , Outpatients , Pandemics , Patient Satisfaction , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2
16.
Epileptic Disord ; 23(3): 485-489, 2021 Jun 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1247708

ABSTRACT

The aim of the current study was to investigate the opinions of neurologists and psychiatrists in Iran on the necessity of COVID-19 vaccination in patients with epilepsy (PWE). These data can help policy makers understand the concerns of these healthcare professionals. This was a survey study. On September 1st, 2020 we sent a questionnaire (using Google-forms) to all neurologists and psychiatrists in Iran via WhatsApp. The survey included three general questions (age, sex, and discipline) and six COVID-specific questions. In total, 202 physicians participated in this study (116 neurologists and 86 psychiatrists). Of the participants, 27% believed that PWE are at increased risk of contracting COVID-19. The majority (74%) of the participants would confidently recommend COVID-19 vaccine to their patients. However, only 49% of the physicians would recommend such a vaccine to all patients; others would consider it in special populations only. The overwhelming majority (91%) of the participants would recommend COVID-19 vaccine only when a reliable vaccine becomes available. Many physicians would trust a vaccine that is approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) (46%) or a vaccine that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA-USA) (34%). Physicians have concerns on the issue of the necessity of (a future) COVID-19 vaccine in PWE. The most important concern is the reliability of a vaccine and in this regard, two health agencies, the WHO and the FDA, are the most trusted organizations to approve a vaccine against COVID-19.


Subject(s)
Attitude of Health Personnel , COVID-19 Vaccines/therapeutic use , COVID-19/prevention & control , Epilepsy/epidemiology , Neurologists , Psychiatry , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Iran , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2
17.
Epilepsy Behav ; 121(Pt A): 108026, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1228173

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To perform a follow-up study of the quality of life in patients with epilepsy in the era of the COVID-19 crisis. METHODS: Two months before the first case of the COVID-19 in Serbia, we obtained the Serbian Version of Quality of Life Inventory for Epilepsy 31 (SVQOLIE-31) and Neurological Disorders Depression Inventory for Epilepsy scores (SVNDDI-E) for another study. We retested the same patients one year after in COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to SVQOLIE-31, and SVNDDI-E we used a generic questionnaire compiled from items related to the COVID-19. RESULTS: We retested 97 out of 118 patients (82.2%) for the follow-up analysis. The average age was 36.1 ±â€¯12.2 (range: 18-69), and 49 were women (50.5%). The median duration of epilepsy was 13 years (range: 1.5-48). The structural etiology of epilepsy was noted in 41 (42.3%), unknown etiology in 41 (42.3%), and genetic etiology in 15 (15.4%) patients. Fewer patients (27.8%) experienced at least one seizure three months before follow-up testing when compared to patients who experienced at least one seizure three months in initial testing (36.0%) (p = 0.15). All patients reported full compliance with anti-seizure medication in the follow-up. The SVQOLIE-31 score during the COVID-19 pandemic visit (64.5 ±â€¯14.6) was significantly lower than the SVQOLIE-31 score before the pandemic (p < 0.001). The SVNDDI-E score during the COVID-19 pandemic (10.5 ±â€¯3.5) was significantly higher than the SVNDDI-E score before it (p < 0.001). Multiple linear regression analyses revealed fear of seizures, and fear of a reduction in household income, significantly associated with SVQOLIE-31 and SVNDDI-E overall score. These variables accounted for 66% and 27% of the variance of SVQOLIE-31 and SVNDDI-E overall score. SIGNIFICANCE: Lower quality of life, higher prevalence of depression, healthcare availability issues, and perceived fears during pandemic all suggest COVID-19 has negatively impacted lives of patients with epilepsy.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Epilepsy , Adult , Epilepsy/epidemiology , Female , Follow-Up Studies , Humans , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Quality of Life , SARS-CoV-2 , Serbia , Surveys and Questionnaires , Young Adult
18.
Epilepsy Behav ; 120: 107996, 2021 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1217627

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The study assessed the prevalence and risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection in patients with epilepsy (PWE). Additionally, the course of COVID-19 and its impact on seizure control was investigated. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Subjects with definite (confirmed by positive RT-PCR nasopharyngeal swab or serum anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies) and probable COVID-19 were identified via telephone survey among PWE treated at the university epilepsy clinic. RESULTS: Of 252 screened subjects, 17 (6.7%) had definite and 14 (5.5%) probable COVID-19. The percentage of PWE with definite COVID-19 was much higher than the percentage of subjects with confirmed COVID-19 in Polish general population (3.65%). In the heterogenous population of PWE, including patients with drug-resistant epilepsy, physical/intellectual disability, and comorbidities, we were not able to identify any risk factors for contracting COVID-19. The course of infection was mild or moderate in all subjects, not requiring oxygen therapy or respiratory support. The most common symptoms were fever, fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, and loss of smell/taste and continued for approximately 7-21 days, except for loss of smell/taste which lasted usually several weeks. Seizure exacerbation was noted in only one pregnant patient with confirmed COVID-19 and it was likely related to decreased serum level of levetiracetam in the third trimester. CONCLUSION: The study provided reassuring findings related to the low risk of seizure exacerbation in PWE during the course of COVID-19. Patients with epilepsy may be at increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Epilepsy characteristics are not likely to modify the risk of COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Epilepsy , Epilepsy/epidemiology , Humans , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2 , Seizures
19.
Epilepsy Res ; 174: 106650, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1213222

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Post COVID-19 seizures are relatively rare. The aim of the present study was to estimate the frequency of acute symptomatic seizures among patients with COVID-19 and to discuss possible pathophysiological mechanisms. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Out of 439 cases with COVID-19 that were admitted to Assiut and Aswan University hospitals during the period from 1 June to 10 August 2020, 19 patients (4.3 %) presented with acute symptomatic seizures. Each patient underwent computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain and conventional electroencephalography (EEG). Laboratory investigations included: blood gases, complete blood picture, serum D-Dimer, Ferritin, C-reactive protein, renal and liver functions, and coagulation profile. RESULTS: Of the 19 patients, 3 had new onset seizures without underlying pathology (0.68 % out of the total 439 patients); 2 others (0.46 %) had previously diagnosed controlled epilepsy with breakthrough seizures. The majority of cases (14 patients, 3.19 %) had primary pathology that could explain the occurrence of seizures: 5 suffered a post COVID-19 stroke (3 ischemic and 2 hemorrhagic stroke); 6 patients had COVID-related encephalitis; 2 patients were old ischemic stroke patients; 1 patient had a brain tumor and developed seizures post COVID-19. CONCLUSION: acute symptomatic seizure is not a rare complication of post COVID-19 infection. Both new onset seizures and seizures secondary to primary brain insult (post COVID encephalitis or recent stroke) were observed.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Encephalitis, Viral/epidemiology , Epilepsy/epidemiology , Seizures/epidemiology , Stroke/epidemiology , Adult , Aged , Anticonvulsants/therapeutic use , Brain/diagnostic imaging , COVID-19/physiopathology , Egypt/epidemiology , Electroencephalography , Epilepsy/drug therapy , Female , Hospitalization , Humans , Magnetic Resonance Imaging , Male , Middle Aged , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Seizures/physiopathology , Stroke/diagnostic imaging , Tomography, X-Ray Computed
20.
Acta Neurol Scand ; 144(1): 99-108, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1203828

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVE: To analyze the medium-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on epilepsy patients, focusing on psychological effects and seizure control. METHODS: Prospective follow-up study to evaluate the medium-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on a cohort of epilepsy patients from a tertiary hospital previously surveyed during the first peak of the pandemic. Between July 1, 2020, and August 30, 2020, the patients answered an online 19-item questionnaire, HADS, and PSIQ scales. Short- and medium-term effects of the pandemic confinement and the perception of telemedicine were compared. RESULTS: 153 patients completed the questionnaire, mean ± SD age, 47.6 ± 19.3 years; 49.7% women. Depression was reported by 43 patients, significantly more prevalent than in the short-term analysis (29.2% vs. 19.7%; p = .038). Anxiety (38.1% vs. 36.1%; p = 0.749) and insomnia (28.9% vs. 30.9%, p = .761) remained highly prevalent. Seventeen patients reported an increase in seizure frequency (11.1% vs. 9.1%, p = .515). The three factors independently associated with an increase in seizure frequency in the medium term were drug-resistant epilepsy (odds ratio [OR] = 8.2, 95% CI 2.06-32.52), depression (OR = 6.46, 95% CI 1.80-23.11), and a reduction in income (OR = 5.47, 95% CI 1.51-19.88). A higher proportion of patients found telemedicine unsatisfactory (11.2% vs. 2.4%), and a lower percentage (44.8% vs. 56.8%) found it very satisfactory (p = .005). CONCLUSIONS: Depression rates increased significantly after the first wave. Depression, drug-resistant epilepsy, and a reduction in family income were independent risk factors for an increased seizure frequency. Perception of telemedicine worsened, indicating need for re-adaptation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/epidemiology , Depression/epidemiology , Epilepsy/epidemiology , Adult , Aged , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Socioeconomic Factors
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