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Incidence of post-traumatic seizures in children during combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq

      Highlights

      • Out of the 3439 children in our dataset, we found that approximately 1% experienced a post-traumatic seizure. This number is likely under-reported secondary to undetected subclinical seizures.

      Abstract

      Objectives

      Children represent a significant portion of the patient population treated at combat support hospitals. There is significant data regarding post injury seizures in adults but with children it is lacking. We seek to describe the incidence of post-traumatic seizures within this population.

      Methods

      This is a secondary analysis of previously described data from the Department of Defense Trauma Registry (DODTR). Within our dataset, we searched for documentation of seizures after admission.

      Results

      Of the 3439 encounters in our dataset, we identified 37 casualties that had a documented seizure after admission. Most were in the 1–4 year age group (37.8%), male (59.4%), injured by explosive (40.5%), with serious injuries to the head/neck (75.6%). The median ISS was higher in the seizure group (22 versus 10, p<0.001). Most survived to hospital discharge with no statistically significant increased mortality noted in the seizure group (seizure 90.2% versus 91.8%, p = 1.000). In the prehospital setting, the seizure group was more frequently intubated (16.2% versus 6.0%, p = 0.023), received ketamine (20.0% versus 3.2%, p<0.001), and administered an anti-seizure medication (5.4% versus 0.1%, p = 0.001). In the hospital setting, the seizure group was more frequently intubated (56.7% versus 17.7%, p<0.001), had intracranial pressure monitoring (24.3% versus 2.6%, p<0.001), craniectomy (10.8% versus 2.5%, p = 0.014), and craniotomy (21.6% versus 4.7%, p<0.001).

      Conclusions

      Within our dataset, we found an incidence of 1% of pediatric casualties experiencing a post-traumatic seizure. While this number appears infrequent, there is likely significant under detection of subclinical seizures.

      Keywords

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