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Table 2 Characteristics of persons with epilepsy from four different studies

From: Characteristics of people with epilepsy in three Eastern African countries – a pooled analysis

   Tanzania (Dar es Salaam) Tanzania (Haydom) Malawi Uganda
n 302 212 365 300
Loss of consciousness   300 (99.3) 210 (99.1) 359 (98.4) 287 (95.7)
Motor activity tonic–clonic 211 (69.9) 178 (84.0) 311 (85.2) 213 (71.0)
tonic 31 (10.3) 25 (11.8) 21 (5.7) 58 (19.3)
clonic 12 (4.0) 9 (4.2) 25 (6.8) 15 (5.0)
myoclonic 0 0 0 5 (1.7)
eye rolling/teeth grinding only 19 (6.3) 0 3 (0.8) 9 (3.0)
no movements at all 29 (9.6) 0 5 (1.4) 0
Motor activity: side of body bilateral 239 (79.9) 179 (84.4) 249 (75.9) 283 (94.3)
unilateral 31 (10.4) 33 (15.6) 74 (22.6) 17 (5.7)
none 29 (9.7) 0 5 (1.5) 0
Information missing 3 3 37 0
Other signs observed (froth from the mouth, urine/stool incontinence) 246 (81.5) 199 (93.9) 323 (88.5) 287 (95.7)
Injuries during seizures   56 (18.5) 86 (40.6) 204 (56.2) 150 (50.0)
face/head 22/46 (47.8) 29/82 (35.4) 83/177 (46.9) 94/149 (63.1)
thorax 1/46 (2.2) 3/82 (3.7) 49/177 (27.7) 7/149 (4.7)
limbs 16/46 (34.8) 58/82 (70.7) 45/177 (25.4) 81/149 (54.4)
Information missing 10 4 27 1
Treatment for injuries   34 (65.4) NA 56 (27.5) 105 (70.5)
operation 3/31 (9.7) NA 1/22 (4.5) 3/105 (2.9)
stitching 4/31 (12.9) NA 0/22 0/105
dressing 27/31 (87.1) NA 20/22 (90.9) 81/105 (77.1)
medication 4/31 (12.9) NA 15/22 (68.2) 14/105 (13.3)
other 1/31 (3.2) NA 0/22 7/105 (6.7)
information missing 3 NA 34 0
Reorientation after seizures   285 (95.0) 210 (99.5) 335 (91.8) 201 (67.0)
Age seizures started (years) median (IQR) 15 (11–22) 15 (11–23) 10 (6–20) 14 (11–23)
younger than 21 222 (74.0) 152 (72.0) 237 (77.5) 218 (72.7)
older than 21 78 (26.0) 59 (28.0) 82 (22.5) 82 (27.3)
Frequency of seizures daily to weekly 44 (14.9) 0 57 (17.5) 9 (4.1)
weekly to monthly 31 (10.5) 4 (1.9) 123 (37.7) 18 (8.2)
monthly to yearly 158 (53.6) 44 (21.0) 131 (40.2) 145 (66.2)
yearly or less often 62 (21.0) 162 (77.1) 15 (4.6) 47 (21.5)
Time since last seizure  < 1 month 169 (56.5) 62 (29.5) NA 10 (3.4)
1–3 months 82 (27.4) 41 (19.5) NA 5 (1.7)
3–12 months 42 (14.0) 36 (17.1) NA 20 (6.8)
1–2 years 3 (1.0) 27 (12.9) NA 69 (23.6)
 > 2 years 3 (1.0) 44 (21.0) NA 188 (64.4)
Occurence of seizures anytime 208 (69.3) 42 (24.6) 115 (31.8) 163 (54.3)
daytime 54 (18.0) 25 (14.6) 119 (32.9) 77 (25.7)
evening/night 6 (2.0) 47 (27.5) 32 (8.8) 40 (13.3)
night while asleep 32 (10.7) 57 (33.3) 96 (26.5) 20 (6.7)
Precipitants before seizures   90 (30.2) 114 (53.8) 31 (8.5) 88 (29.3)
alcohol 0/89 15/114 (13.2) 5/31 (16.1) 0/88
fever 13/89 (14.6) 30/114 (26.3) 16/31 (51.6) 28/88 (31.8)
stress/emotional stimuli 14/89 (15.7) 18/114 (15.8) 2/31 (6.5) 32/88 (36.4)
lack of sleep 59/89 (66.3) 0/114 2/31 (6.5) 5/88 (5.7)
other 9/89 (10.1) 62/114 (54.4) 6/31 (19.4) 23/88 (26.1)
missing 1 0 0 0
History of febrile seizures   106 (35.7) 16 (7.6) 177 (48.4) 47 (15.7)
Past medical history   7 (2.3) NA 37 (10.1) 33 (11.1)
metabolic/cardiovascular 3/7 (42.9) NA 3/37 (8.1) 2/33 (6.1)
respiratory 1/7 (14.3) NA 10/37 (27.0) 4/33 (12.1)
infectious 3/7 (42.9) NA 19/37 (51.4) 23/33 (69.7)
other 0/7 NA 5/37 (13.5) 4/33 (12.1)
missing 0 NA 0 0
Hospital admission   97 (32.4) 145 (68.4) 139 (38.1) 118 (39.3)
Past psychiatric history   162 (53.6) 18 (8.5) 62 (17.0) 20 (6.7)
Type psychosis 72/162 (44.4) 0/18 17/62 (27.4) 6/20 (30.0)
depression 13/162 (8.0) 0/18 2/62 (3.2) 7/20 (35.0)
behavioural problems 19/162 (11.7) 4/18 (22.2) 22/62 (35.5) 3/20 (15.0)
dementia 49/162 (30.2) 0/18 1/62 (1.6) 2/20 (10.0)
mental retardation 33/162 (20.4) 16/18 (88.9) 29/62 (46.8) 14/20 (70.0)
missing 0 0 0 0
Family history of epilepsy   101 (34.1) 57 (26.9) 107 (29.3) 88 (29.3)
Degree family member first degree 47/100 (47.0) 39/57 (68.4) 43/101 (42.6) 11/86 (12.8)
second degree 53/100 (53.0) 18/57 (31.6) 58/101 (57.4) 75/86 (87.2)
missing 1 0 6 2
Mother not healthy during pregnancy 31 (12.0) 5 (2.4) 15 (4.1) 9 (3.0)
Schooling   275 (91.7) 143 (67.5) 273 (74.8) 192 (64.0)
Drop-out of school   55 (20.1) 59 (27.8) 162 (44.4) 118 (61.5)
Focal neurological signs on examination   23 (7.8) NA 31 (8.5) 0
Diagnosis ILAE generalised onset 240 (79.5) 149 (70.3) 288 (78.9) 277 (92.3)
focal onset 61 (20.2) 61 (28.8) 77 (21.1) 23 (7.7)
unclassified 1 (0.3) 2 (0.9) 0 0
Diagnosis Winkler et al.21 gen. seizures within a specific age range 175 (57.9) 119 (56.1) 109 (29.9) 127 (42.3)
gen. seizures outside specific age range 47 (15.6) 30 (14.2) 152 (41.6) 67 (22.3)
gen. seizures with diffuse brain damage 18 (6.0) 14 (6.6) 47 (12.9) 83 (27.7)
gen. seizures with focal signs 57 (18.9) 47 (22.2) 45 (12.3) 23 (7.7)
simple partial seizures 2 (0.7) 0 8 (2.2) 0
complex partial seizures 2 (0.7) 0 4 (1.1) 0
unclassified 1 (0.3) 2 (0.9) 0 0