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March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

According to the Epilepsy Foundation and Brain Injury Association a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is a well recognized cause of seizures and epilepsy.

Per the Epilepsy Foundation:

Seizures can occur early ( within the first week of the brain injury), or late ( more than a week after brain injury). Seizures which occur early after a traumatic brain injury are felt to be a symptom of the recent injury. Seizures which occur in the late period after TBI are more likely to recur and result in epilepsy.

Early seizures in TBI

  • Approximately 1 in 10 people (10%) will experience an early seizure after TBI

  • 50% of early seizures occur during the first 24 hours following TBI

  • 25% of early seizures occur during the first hour following TBI

  • Most very early seizures (within 24 hours of injury) are generalized tonic clonic seizures

  • About 1 in 10 people will develop status epilepticus in the early period after a TBI

  • Younger children are at highest risk for early post traumatic seizures and status epilepticus

  • experience an early seizure.

  • People who have head injuries that are more serious (examples: car accidents, fall from height, military blast injury), cause brain swelling or blood on the outside of the brain (subdural hemorrhage), or involve the brain being penetrated by a foreign object (example: bullet, combat injuries), or are accompanied by an extended period with loss of consciousness (>30 minutes) are more likely to have early seizures. One in four people who suffer from bleeding in the brain (intracerebral hematoma) requiring surgery or a skull fracture that compresses or injures brain tissue

  • In some cases, even if a head injury is “mild” and a person has no evidence of injury to the brain on brain imaging with CT or MRI, a seizure may still occur

  • EEG changes may or may not be present in the immediate period after a head injury

  • If markers of seizures on EEG early after TBI this may mean a person is more likely to develop epilepsy

  • People with early seizures after a brain trauma are at higher risk for developing post-traumatic epilepsy

What Are Late Seizures?

Seizures which occur more than a week after a traumatic brain injury are considered late seizures. Most often when this happens, it is because there has been more serious injury to brain cells and the chemical environment around the cells has also changed. Late seizures are more likely to lead to the complication of post-traumatic epilepsy.


Epilepsy Foundation

Brain Injury Association

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