Childhood-onset epilepsy during the years of transition to adulthood may affect normal social, physical, and mental development, frequently leading to psychosocial and health-related problems in the long term.
This study aimed to describe the main characteristics of patients in transition and to identify risk factors for poor psychosocial outcome in adolescents and young adults with epilepsy.
Patients with epilepsy, 15–25 years of age, who visited the Kempenhaeghe Epilepsy Transition Clinic from March 2012 to December 2014 were included ( n = 138). Predefined risk scores for medical, educational/occupational status, and independence/separation/identity were obtained, along with individual risk profile scores for poor psychosocial outcome. Multivariate linear regression analysis and discriminant analysis were used to identify variables associated with an increased risk of poor long-term psychosocial outcome.
Demographic, epilepsy-related, and psychosocial variables associated with a high risk of poor long-term outcome were lower intelligence, higher seizure frequency, ongoing seizures, and an unsupportive and unstable family environment. Using the aforementioned factors in combination, we were able to correctly classify the majority (55.1%) of the patients regarding their risk of poor psychosocial outcome.
Our analysis may allow early identification of patients at high risk of prevention, preferably at pretransition age. The combination of a chronic refractory epilepsy and an unstable family environment constitutes a higher risk of transition problems and poor outcome in adulthood. As a consequence, early interventions should be put into place to protect youth at risk of poor transition outcome.
Author(s) - affiliated with Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences