The effectiveness of medical and surgical treatment for children with refractory epilepsy

Iwen Pan, Melissa A. LoPresti, Dave F. Clarke, Sandi Lam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Pediatric refractory epilepsy affects quality of life, clinical disability, and healthcare costs for patients and families. OBJECTIVE: To show the impact of surgical treatment for pediatric epilepsy on healthcare utilization compared to medically treated pediatric epilepsy over 5 yr. METHODS: The Pediatric Health Information System database was used to conduct a cohort study using 5 published algorithms. Refractory epilepsy patients treated with antiepileptic medications (AEDs) only or AEDs plus epilepsy surgery between 1/1/2008 and 12/31/2014 were included. Healthcare utilization following the index date at 2 and 5 yr including inpatient, emergency department (ED), and all epilepsy-related visits were evaluated. The propensity scores (PS) method was used to match surgically and medically treated patients. PS. SAS® 9.4 and Stata 14.0 were used for data management and statistical analysis. RESULTS: A total of 2106 (17.1%) and 10186 (82.9%) were surgically and medically treated. A total of 4050 matched cases, 2025 per each treated group, were included. Compared to medically treated patients, utilization was reduced in the surgical group: at 2 and 5 yr postindex date, there was a reduction of 36% to 37% of inpatient visits and 47% to 50% of ED visits. The total number (inpatient, ED, ambulatory visits) of epilepsy-associated visits were reduced by 39% to 43% in the surgical group compared to the medically treated group. In those who had surgery, the average reduction in AEDs was 16% at 2 and 5 yr after treatment. CONCLUSION: Patients with refractory epilepsy treated with surgery had significant reductions in healthcare utilization compared with patients treated only with medications. treated patients, surgically treated patients tend to have increased overall survival and better quality of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E73-E81
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Drug-resistant epilepsy
  • Effectiveness
  • Epilepsy surgery
  • Healthcare utilization
  • Pediatric epilepsy
  • Refractory epilepsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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