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Outcome of pseudoseizures in children and adolescents: a 6-year symptom survival analysis

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 August 2001

Olafur Gudmundsson
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Landspitali University Hospital, Dahlbraut, Reykjavik, Iceland.
Michael Prendergast
Prudhoe Hospital, Prudhoe, Northumberland, UK.
David Foreman
University of Keele, UK.
Susan Cowley
James Brindley School, Birmingham, UK.
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Outcome was studied of all children and adolescents with pseudoseizures without epilepsy, who were referred and treated as in-patients and/or day patients in the tertiary psychiatric ward at Birmingham Children's Hospital, UK between 1988 and 1994. Information was derived from case-note data. Freedom from seizures for six months was defined as ‘cure’, as no recurrences after this period were noted. Kaplan–Meier survival analysis was used. Seventeen patients were identified: 15 females and two males; mean age at presentation to the tertiary psychiatric service was 12 years 9 months (SD 26 months; range 8 years 3 months to 15 years 9 months). Fourteen participants recovered and resumed regular school attendance. Three were lost to follow-up due to being referred on to other agencies before recovery because they became too old for the service. Recovery followed an exponential distribution, with a mean symptom survival time following treatment of 1.5 years. These results are consistent with a treatment effect. Younger age at presentation, female sex, having more types of seizures, and not receiving both in-patient and outpatient treatment were associated with better outcome. The deteriorating prognosis with age at treatment suggests prompt identification may be important in ensuring a good outcome.

Original Articles
© 2001 Mac Keith Press

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