-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Many American doctors lack
knowledge about the proper diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy in
children, according to a new study.
Researchers surveyed pediatricians, family doctors and
neurologists/neurosurgeons in central Texas to assess whether they
were using current best-practice guidelines when dealing with
children with epilepsy.
The results showed that many of the participants were
misinformed about what constitutes intractable epilepsy (defined as
epilepsy that cannot be controlled with medications), when to refer
young patients for surgical evaluation, and what types of seizures
may respond to surgical treatment.
In addition to misinformation about surgery, there were
significant gaps in knowledge about drug treatment, according to
the researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical
Center at Dallas and Dell Children's Medical Center, in Austin.
The survey respondents were misinformed about when or after how
many seizures they should prescribe anti-convulsant drugs for a
patient. There was also a lack of knowledge about how many failed
attempts at drug treatment should occur before considering another
form of therapy that doesn't involve drugs, the study found.
The study was to be presented Monday at the annual meeting of
the American Epilepsy Society, in San Diego.
"Observance of practice standards is important in achieving optimal seizure control and quality of life for epilepsy patients," study author Dr. Freedom Perkins said in a society news release.
"Early aggressive treatment is essential. But timely and appropriate care is not likely to happen if health care providers are misinformed. This survey gives us baseline information that can be used to focus educational initiatives for improving provider knowledge," Perkins explained.
Perkins said he did not believe the survey findings were unique
Data and conclusions presented at meetings are typically
considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical
The Epilepsy Foundation has more about
epilepsy in children.
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