Predictors of incident epilepsy in older adults: The Cardiovascular Health Study

T Ton, et al - Neurology

Objective: To determine the prevalence, incidence, and predictors of epilepsy among older adults in the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS).


We analyzed data prospectively collected in CHS and merged with data from outpatient Medicare administrative claims. We identified cases with epilepsy using self-report, antiepileptic medication, hospitalization discharge ICD-9 codes, and outpatient Medicare ICD-9 codes. We used Cox proportional hazards regression to identify factors independently associated with incident epilepsy.


At baseline, 42% of the 5,888 participants were men and 84% were white. At enrollment, 3.7% (215 of 5,888) met the criteria for prevalent epilepsy. During 14 years of follow-up totaling 48,651 person-years, 120 participants met the criteria for incident epilepsy, yielding an incidence rate of 2.47 per 1,000 person-years. The period prevalence of epilepsy by the end of follow-up was 5.7% (335 of 5,888). Epilepsy incidence rates were significantly higher among blacks than nonblacks: 4.44 vs 2.17 per 1,000 person-years (p < 0.001). In multivariable analyses, risk of incident epilepsy was significantly higher among blacks compared to nonblacks (hazard ratio [HR] 4.04, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.99-8.17), those 75 to 79 compared to those 65 to 69 years of age (HR 2.07, 95% CI 1.21-3.55), and those with history of stroke (HR 3.49, 95% CI 1.37-8.88).


Epilepsy in older adults in the United States was common. Blacks, the very old, and those with history of stroke have a higher risk of incident epilepsy. The association with race remains unexplained.

Authors: T Ton, et al

Source: Neurology

Publication Year: 2017