July 5, 2021

Seizure Worsening in Pregnancy in Women with Sleep-related Hypermotor Epilepsy (SHE): A Historical Cohort Study

Abstract, published in Seizure

Introduction: Data on seizure course during pregnancy in women with epilepsy are limited. In particular, little is known about the causes underlying possible seizure worsening in this population. We therefore set out to explore worsening, in pregnancy, of sleep-related hypermotor epilepsy (SHE), a syndrome in which seizures are known to be triggered by sleep fragmentation, a condition common in pregnancy.

Methods: From a cohort of consecutive patients with epilepsy who had one or more deliveries between January 2008 and March 2018, we retrospectively compared the rates of seizure worsening during pregnancy in SHE versus other epilepsies (NSHE). Worsening was defined as an increase in seizure frequency compared with the rate for the year prior to conception, including seizure recurrence after a year of seizure freedom, and/or new occurrence of tonic-clonic seizures.

Results: We considered data on 11 pregnancies in women with SHE and 104 pregnancies in women with NSHE. Seizures worsened in six SHE pregnancies (54.5%) versus 18 NSHE ones (17.3%) (OR adjusted for preconception seizure frequency and polytherapy = 5.7, 95% CI = 1.6-20.8, p = 0.019).

Conclusions: Women with sleep-related hypermotor epilepsy have a higher risk of seizure worsening in pregnancy. This finding should be considered from the perspective of patient counseling.

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