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May

GP alerts for epilepsy mortalities

Researchers from the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP) at King’s propose that GPs should be rewarded for identifying those at risk of dying from epilepsy, in an attempt to combat an increase in mortality among people with epilepsy.

Scientists evaluated trends in epilepsy mortality and identified risk factors for death in epilepsy, which if addressed could decrease mortality rates for the predominantly young, male population who are particularly at risk. The scientists suggest that primary care professionals should be aware of and identify the presence of these risk-factors in order to step-up care for people at risk.

Leone Ridsdale, a Professor of Neurology and General Practice at the IoP, said: ‘We suggest that indicators might be developed to reward primary care for offering each person with epilepsy a comprehensive care plan and a step-up plan for those with recurrent seizures.

‘Reducing epilepsy mortality should be a major aim. The Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) could incentivise GPs to refer people who do not remain seizure free back to specialists. Recommendations are that systems be developed for alerting GPs when prescriptions are not collected on time; when accidents occur; when depression is diagnosed and treated; with all those with a dual alcohol diagnosis, each of which increases the risk of death in epilepsy. Patients at risk can be provided with step-up care and if necessary referred for additional interventions.’

The prevalence of epilepsy mortalities rose from nine per 1,000 in 1993 to 12 per 1,000 in 2007, though it was found that patients who remain seizure free for over 12 months are at lower risk.

Epilepsy mortality and risk factors for death in epilepsy: population-based study‘ is published in this month’s British Journal of General Practice.

For more information please contact Erin Seymour, erin.seymour@kcl.ac.uk or 0207 848 5377.

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