InsightsInsight - Personal Injury and Industrial Disease - POSTED: August 11 2011
Brain injury and increased risk of Post Traumatic Epilepsy
Post Traumatic Epilepsy (PTE) is a recognised problem following a brain injury and can develop years after the original injury occurred. Approximately 80% of PTE occur within two years of the injury and the risk decreases with time.
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It has traditionally been thought that this reaches the normal value for population at five years after the head injury. However, research carried out by a team in Denmark found that people who suffer a head injury are at risk of developing epilepsy for over ten years following the incident. They also found the chance of epilepsy more than doubled for a person after mild brain injury or skull fracture and were seven times more likely in patients with serious brain injury. Other indicators of susceptibility for PTE are intracranial haemorrhage, depressed skull fracture, brain contusions and whether there was a penetrating injury.
Children under the age of five or adults over the age of 65 who sustain a brain injury are also at an increased risk of developing PTE. In order to diagnose this condition clinicians will perform brain Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI),as Electroencephalography (EEG) is not helpful in predicting the likelihood of post traumatic seizure. Treatment will vary depending upon the severity of the injury and the condition. Medication called anticonvulsants can be prescribed to control the seizures.
The onset of Post Traumatic Epilepsy can have a profound effect on their social and working life. The development of this condition means potentially they will have to stop driving and give back their licence to a the DVLA. If the injured person drives for a living this could mean a loss of livelihood. An order for Provisional Damages can be obtained in cases where there is a recognised increased risk of epilepsy. In these cases the head injured claimant would be awarded damages on a ‘provisional’ basis on the assumption they do not develop the condition. However, the door would be left published to come back to Court and claim additional compensation if they do later develop epilepsy due to the head injury.
If you have suffered a head injury and are concerned about Post Traumatic Epilepsy you should contact an experienced clinician.
A number of Neurologists will have expertise in PTE. There are also a number of Epilepsy Clinics in the UK that can offer help and guidance. If you have suffered a head injury as a result of an accident as brain injury specialists recognised by Headway we can help you get the compensation and treatment that you need and deserve, including any compensation for the risk of post traumatic epilepsy.
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