Indian Journal of Medical Specialities

: 2022  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 166--168

Early-onset seizures in ischemic stroke: A descriptive cross-sectional study

Mohsina Syed, Sumayyah Liaquat, Zainab Saleem, Jay Singh, Rabia Sana, Naila Naeem Shahbaz 
 Department of Neurology, Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi, Pakistan

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Mohsina Syed
Department of Neurology, Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi


Context: Poststroke seizures are not infrequent neurological sequelae of stroke. Aims: The primary aim of our study is to determine the frequency of early seizures in acute ischemic stroke in our population. Subjects and Methods: It is a descriptive cross-sectional study done at the Department of Neurology, Dr. Ruth K. M. Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi, Pakistan. The duration of the study was of 6 months, from July 2019 to December 2019. All patients who fulfilled the inclusion criteria were enrolled in the study after Institutional Review Board approval. Informed and written consent was obtained from all subjects. A detailed history and clinical examination were carried out and all patients were assessed by a trained neurologist. Results: Total 281 patients with ischemic stroke were included. One hundred and eighty-one patients (64.4%) were male and 100 (35.6%) were female with a mean age of 48.41 ± 8.730 years. The early-onset seizures were noted in 22 patients (7.8%). In our study, early-onset poststroke seizures were noted more commonly in the age group of 36–60 years and were predominant in the males. Patients with infarction in the parietal lobe exhibited greater seizure occurrence. The most common seizure type observed was generalized tonic–clonic. Majority of early-onset poststroke seizures occurred in the 1st week. Conclusion: In our study, the frequency of early onset seizures in patients with ischemic stroke was found to be 7.8%, which when occurs increases morbidity.

How to cite this article:
Syed M, Liaquat S, Saleem Z, Singh J, Sana R, Shahbaz NN. Early-onset seizures in ischemic stroke: A descriptive cross-sectional study.Indian J Med Spec 2022;13:166-168

How to cite this URL:
Syed M, Liaquat S, Saleem Z, Singh J, Sana R, Shahbaz NN. Early-onset seizures in ischemic stroke: A descriptive cross-sectional study. Indian J Med Spec [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 May 29 ];13:166-168
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Full Text


Poststroke seizures are classified based on the time of onset of seizures after cerebral infarction.[1] Early-onset seizures are defined as seizures occurring within the first 14 days and late-onset seizures after 14 days of stroke onset.[1]

The main purpose of this research was to determine the frequency of early-onset seizures after cerebral infarction in our Pakistani population. By conducting this study, we will be able to estimate the frequency of occurrence of early seizures in our population as data are relatively scarce so that adequate measures can be taken early in the management.

 Subjects and Methods

We did a descriptive cross-sectional study at the Department of Neurology, Dr. Ruth K. M. Pfau Civil Hospital Karachi. The duration of the study was 6 months from July 2019 to December 2019. The study was approved by the Institutional Review and Ethical Board. Informed and written consent was obtained from all the participants. Patients of either gender, subjects between 18 and 60 years of age, and seizures presenting within 2 weeks of stroke onset were enrolled. The patients with hemorrhagic stroke, late-onset seizures (>14 days), cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, and secondary causes of seizures (hypoglycemia, hyponatremia and hypocalcemia, arteriovenous malformations, and previous history of epilepsy) were all excluded. Early-onset seizures were defined as seizures occurring within 14 days of ischemic stroke onset. Seizures were diagnosed and classified by International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) seizure classification.[2] Diagnosis of seizures was made clinically by a trained neurology consultant. Demographics, variables, types, frequency of the seizures, poststroke day on which seizure developed, and radiological findings concerning the location of stroke were noted on predesigned proforma.

The sample size calculated was 281 through nonprobability consecutive sampling.

Statistical analysis

The data were analyzed using SPSS version 20.0 (IBM Corp., Armonk, NY, USA). Quantitative variables such as age and poststroke day on which seizure developed were measured by mean and standard deviation. The qualitative variables such as gender and radiological findings regarding the type and location of stroke were presented in frequency and percentages. The effect modification of outcome variable (frequency of seizure) due to age, gender, location of stroke, and duration of stroke was dealt with stratification of these variables. Poststratification Chi-square test with a P value significance of < 0.05 was applied. The biases were controlled through strict enforcement of inclusion and exclusion criteria.


Total 281 patients with ischemic stroke were enrolled. The mean age of the sample was 48.41 ± 8.730 years. Male patients were 181 (64.4%) and 100 (35.6%) were female.

Early-onset seizures were noted in 22 patients (7.8%). Semiology of seizure observed in the study was generalized tonic–clonic in 163 patients (58%), focal in 83 (29.5%), and secondary generalized in 35 (12.5%). Status epilepticus was not reported in any of our cases. The seizures occurred on a mean of 7.38 ± 2.881 poststroke days. The location of ischemic stroke on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain was frontal in 70 patients (24.9%), parietal in 116 (41.3%), temporal in 68 (24.2%), and occipital in 27 (9.6%).

The frequencies of age groups, gender, localization (on MRI brain), type of seizures, and poststroke day on which seizure occurred were calculated. The results are presented in [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4].{Table 1}{Table 2}{Table 3}{Table 4}


Seizure occurrence immediately after stroke is associated with poor prognosis and worsening functional outcomes.[2],[3] Chances of acute symptomatic seizures are higher in large cortical stroke and in hemorrhagic stroke.[4] Seizures occur secondary to metabolic derangements, neuronal injury, and excessive glutamate production in response to ischemia.[5] Whereas, late-onset seizure is thought to be because of gliotic changes and scar formation in meninges and cortex.[5]

Early poststroke seizures can present as focal, generalized tonic–clonic, and focal to bilateral tonic–clonic seizures.[6] Thereby, it is worthwhile to perform electroencephalogram (EEG) in all patients.[7],[8] The reported incidence ranges from 2.2% to 33% in previous studies.[9]

Acute management of seizure is mandatory in patients with acute ischemic stroke since continual seizure activity can further augment the ischemia, lessens the penumbra,[10] and can worsen functional outcome. However, long-term antiepileptic drugs are rarely required because of low recurrence rates.[11]

Seizure stroke study determined the frequency of seizures in ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke independently.[5] They reported that early seizures occurred in 8.6% of patients with cerebral infarction.[5] Our results showed that 7.8% had early-onset seizures after ischemic stroke. Qazi et al. observed poststroke seizures within 14 days in 7.1%, and another study done in Pakistan reported seizures in 9%.[12] The results of our study are analogous to these studies.

The mean age of the sample was 48.41 ± 8.73 (range: 25–60 years). In contrast, the mean age reported in Qazi et al. and Khealani et al. studies was 55.38 ± 5.66. Preponderance of seizures was noticed in males (4.27%) (P = 0.314). Qazi et al.[12] also reported increased frequency in male patients compared to females.

The majority of seizures in our research occurred within 7 days of stroke onset (n = 13). Previous authors have reported the highest incidence within 7 days of stroke onset as well, and 90% of seizures occur in the first 24 h of stroke.[5],[13],[14]

Potential risk factors for poststroke seizures include hemorrhagic stroke type, cortical involvement, supratentorial infarct, and high National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale.[15] A stroke involving the parietal lobe (middle cerebral artery) had a greater chance of seizures (41.3%) in our study. The second most common (24.9%) territory was frontal (anterior cerebral artery). A study done by Bryndziar et al. showed that the location and territory of stroke were not related to poststroke seizures (P > 0.05).[16] Similarly, no difference was observed in different TOAST subtypes with early seizures.[16] Correspondingly, in our research, no association between the lobe involved in the MRI brain and the frequency of early-onset poststroke seizure was established (P = 0.723).

In this study, generalized tonic–clonic seizures (58%) were the most frequent seizure type observed, followed by focal seizures (29.5%). Status epilepticus and refractory seizures were not reported in any of our cases. Conversely, a study done by Giroud et al.[17] and another study by Gupta et al.[18] reported simple partial seizure (61%) and partial (57%) seizure as the most frequent type.


In conclusion, 7.8% of patients with acute ischemic stroke exhibited early-onset poststroke seizures. Prompt recognition and diagnosis can lessen morbidity and mortality associated with it.

Limitations of the study

An EEG was not ordered in any of the patients presenting with postischemic seizures. Patients were not followed after discharge from the hospital; therefore, prognosis and disability were not determined in our study. Furthermore, sample size compared to other studies is not enough to generalize these results to the whole population. Further work is needed to determine the frequency which is representative of our population.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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