March 23, 2021

Epilepsy Surgery in Africa: State of the Art and Challenges

Abstract, originally published in Epilepsy & Behavior

Objective: Epilepsy is an important public health problem representing 0.6% of the global burden of disease that particularly impacts people living in the lowest income countries where epilepsy incidence may be 10 fold more than in the developed world. The battery of treatments designed to counteract the clinical manifestations of this disease are various and range from a wide spectrum of antiseizure medicationand specific diets, to surgical techniques for resection of the epileptogenic focus. The aim of our study was to describe the State of the art of Epilepsy Surgery (ES) in Africa and examine ways to deal with the high surgical treatment gap.

Methodology: In an observational study, we prospectively disseminated questionnaires via email or directly administered to main epileptologists and neurologists involved in epilepsy care, in key African countries. We also conducted a literature search using PubMed, Google scholar on ES in all the African countries.

Results: We received responses from the majority of African countries, which allowed us to identify 3 levels of care for ES in African countries, a first level that uses ES with invasive presurgical evaluation, a second level that uses ES but without invasive presurgical evaluation, and a third level that does not use ES, and we summarized these results on a map.

Discussion: This paper studied the availability of epilepsy surgery as a treatment modality in several African countries. We aimed to establish optimal pathways for initiating epilepsy surgery with noninvasive Electroencephalography and readily available investigations. This could be achieved through collaboration with epilepsy programs in developed countries directly or by using telemedicine.

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