Predictors and characteristics of seizures in survivors of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy

Dhanashri P. Miskin*, Susan T. Herman, Long H. Ngo, Igor J. Koralnik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


This study aims to determine the risk factors for epileptogenesis and characteristics of seizures in patients with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) who survive more than 1 year from onset of neurological symptoms (PML survivors). We reviewed clinical data including seizure history and MR imaging studies from PML survivors evaluated at our institution between 1997 and 2014. PML progressors who passed away within 1 year and patients with a history of seizures prior to PML diagnosis were excluded from the analysis. Of 64 PML survivors, 28 (44 %) developed seizures. The median time from the onset of PML symptoms to the first seizure was 5.4 months (range 0–159) and 64 % of patients with seizures had them within the first year. The presence of juxtacortical PML lesions was associated with a relative risk of seizures of 3.5 (p < 0.02; 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.3–9.4) in multivariate analyses. Of all seizure types, 86 % were focal and 60 % most likely originated from the frontal lobes. Among seizure patients, 89 % required treatment, including one (54 %), two (25 %), or three (10.5%) antiepileptic drugs. Seizures are a frequent complication in PML and can develop throughout the entire course of the disease. However, late onset seizures did not signify PML relapse. Seizures may require treatment with multiple antiepileptic medications and are a significant co-morbidity in PML.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)464-471
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of neurovirology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Epilepsy
  • JC virus
  • Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy
  • Seizures
  • Survivors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Virology

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