April 26, 2018

Survey of Physician Attitudes towards Psychogenic Nonepileptic Seizures and Driving

CONCLUSION: Psychogenic nonepileptic seizures are common across neurology, psychiatry, and primary care, and most physicians find assessing driving risk in such individuals highly warranted yet difficult. Developing such assessment guidelines and recommendations is of great need for clinicians.

BACKGROUND: Physicians from various disciplines encounter patients presenting with psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES) as part of their routine clinical practice. Recommendations towards assessing fitness to drive and reporting are clearer for conditions such as neurocognitive disorders and epilepsy, but such guidelines do not exist for patients with PNES. Here, we assess physicians’ attitudes towards driving for patients diagnosed with PNES.

METHODS: Electronic questionnaires were sent to Neurology and Family Medicine physicians practicing at Creighton University Medical Center and Psychiatry physicians practicing at Creighton-Nebraska Psychiatry Residency Program to assess their opinion regarding driving risk when encountering PNES.

RESULTS: The survey request was sent to 125 physicians, of which close to 60% completed the survey. Eighty-eight percent of participants encountered PNES in their clinical practice, and 69.1% agreed it was a difficult problem to assess, with only 8.3% endorsing a belief that these patients should drive without restrictions. Ninety-three percent felt having guidelines would help them assess the driving risk in this population.

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