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To define the risk factors for postencephalitic epilepsy (PE) and drug-resistant epilepsy (DRE) in childhood following infectious and autoimmune encephalitis, we included 147 acute encephalitis patients with a median follow-up of 7.3 years (range 2-15.8 years). PE was defined as the use of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) for ≥24 months, and DRE was defined as the persistence of seizures despite ≥2 appropriate AEDs at final follow-up. PE and DRE were diagnosed in 31 (21%) and 15 (10%) of patients, respectively. The features during acute encephalitis predictive of DRE (presented as odds ratio [OR] with confidence intervals [CIs]) were status epilepticus (OR 10.8, CI 3.4-34.3), visual disturbance (6.4, 1.4-29.9), focal seizures (6.2, 1.9-20.6), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) hippocampal/amygdala involvement (5.0, 1.7-15.4), intensive care admission (4.7, 1.4-15.4), use of >3 AEDs (4.5, 1.2-16.1), MRI gadolinium enhancement (4.1, 1.2-14.2), any seizure (3.9, 1.1-14.4), and electroencephalography (EEG) epileptiform discharges (3.9, 1.3-12.0). On multivariable regression analysis, only status epilepticus remained predictive of DRE in all models. DRE was common in herpes simplex virus (3/9, 33%) and unknown (8/40, 20%) encephalitis, but absent in acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) (0/32, 0%), enterovirus (0/18), and anti-N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor-NMDAR encephalitis (0/9). We have identified risk factors for DRE and demonstrated "high-risk," and "low-risk" etiologies.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





e7 - e11


Autoimmune, Encephalitis, Epilepsy, Infection, Outcome, Adolescent, Autoantibodies, Child, Child, Preschool, Cohort Studies, Drug Resistant Epilepsy, Electroencephalography, Encephalitis, Epilepsy, Female, Glutamate Decarboxylase, Humans, Male, Membrane Proteins, Nerve Tissue Proteins, Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated, ROC Curve, Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate, Risk Factors