September 10, 2021

Anesthesia Considerations for Patients with Epilepsy: Findings of a Qualitative Study in the Palestinian Practice

Abstract, originally published in Epilepsy & Behavior

Objective: This qualitative exploratory study was conducted to explore how anesthesiologists in Palestine provide perioperative care for patients with epilepsy and how they account for the unique challenges relevant to epilepsy while planning perioperative care for patients with epilepsy.

Methods: This study was conducted in an explorative qualitative design. Purposive and snowball sampling approaches were used to recruit the study participants. Qualitative semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with anesthesiologists (n = 10) and a neurologist (n = 1). The qualitative data collected in this study were thematically analyzed using the interpretive description methodology to generate themes, subthemes, and patterns.

Results: Three major themes emerged from the collected qualitative data with a total of 18 subthemes. The 3 themes were: 1) considerations/challenges while assessing patients, 2) anesthetic considerations, and 3) recovery considerations. Lack of epilepsy-specific assessment and anesthesia protocols, underuse of neurology referral services, and lack of neuromonitoring were identified.

Conclusion: Findings of this study highlighted the need to develop specific anesthesia protocols for patients with epilepsy. Anesthesiologists and planners of perioperative care should improve collection of patient information and assessment methods, ensure control over seizures, reduce triggers of seizures, and improve patient monitoring approaches. Findings of this study might be used to inform anesthesiologists and decision makers in professional groups, patient advocacy groups, and healthcare authorities to benchmark and improve anesthesia care and services offered to patients with epilepsy. More studies are still needed to quantitatively assess the quality of anesthesia care and services provided to patients with epilepsy.

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