Epilepsy is Associated with Higher Death Risk from Covid-19

By: Lance Fogan, MD

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Lance Fogan, M.D. is a Clinical Professor of Neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “DINGS” is his first novel. It is a mother’s dramatic story that teaches epilepsy, now available in eBook, audiobook, and soft cover editions.

A recent article summarized a Spanish study1 (published only on line to date) to estimate incidence and case fatality rate of patients with epilepsy and COVID-19.

It is known that patients with epilepsy are at elevated risk of respiratory diseases, especially those due to infections. This referenced investigation supports this. Spanish investigators studied 1,537 patients with COVID-19 admitted over one month in spring, 2020, including 21 with active epilepsy and 1,516 controls without active epilepsy.

A cumulative case fatality rate of 1.2 percent was found in the patients with COVID-19. The general population with COVID-19 without active epilepsy had a lower death rate due to COVID-19 of 0.5 percent. Patients with high blood pressure and with epilepsy and COVID-19 predicted even greater mortality.

We all must be attentive to safe distancing and mask-wearing at this time. My blogs # 117 on April 25, 2020; # 118 on May 25, 2020 and #120 on July 25, 2020 at LanceFogan.com deal with COVID-19. They discuss more helpful information on your epilepsy and staying safe during this covid-19 pandemic. Infections with COVID-19 are associated with worsening seizures in many people with epilepsy. I urge you to practice recommended safety measures to protect yourselves from COVID.

  1. P.Cabezudo-Garcia, N. Lundahl Ciano-Petersen, N.Mena-Vazquez, et.al. Incidence and case fatality rate of COVID-19 in patients with active epilepsy. Neurology 2020;95:e1417-1425 2020 Sep 8;95(10):e1417-e1425. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000010033. Epub 2020 Jun 17

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