Ding Ding, Wenzhi Wang, Jianzhong Wu, Guangyu Ma, Xiuying Dai, Bin Yang, Taiping Wang, Chenglin Yuan, Zhen Hong, Hanneke M de Boer, Leonid Prilipko, Josemir W Sander
Background: In China, few studies have described annual mortality associated with epilepsy in a general population and these have provided a range of 3·07·9 deaths per 100 000 people. We calculated the case fatality rate (CFR), proportional mortality rate (PMR), and standardised mortality ratio (SMR) to assess mortality in people with epilepsy in rural China.
Methods: The target population was people with epilepsy who participated in an assessment of epilepsy management at primary health level in rural China. Neurologists confi rmed the diagnosis using strict criteria in all participants who were then treated with phenobarbital. Demographic data and putative cause of death were recorded for each person whose death was reported. PMRs for each cause of death and SMRs were estimated on the basis of the 2004 Chinese population.
Findings: Case fatality rate was 1·4% (35 deaths) among 2455 people with epilepsy. The age-adjusted PMRs for injury, stroke, neoplasm, myocardial infarction, and pneumonia were 30%, 30%, 15%, 6%, and 5%, respectively. The SMR was 3·9 (95% CI 3·83·9). Patients aged 1529 years had higher mortality ratios than did those in other age-groups,
with SMRs exceeding 23.
Interpretation: Risk for premature death is three to four times higher in people with epilepsy than in the general Chinese population. Furthermore, the risk in young people with epilepsy in China is much higher than previously reported. Injury, stroke, myocardial infarction, and pneumonia are among the leading putative causes of death in patients with epilepsy in rural China.
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