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    Pediatricians lack knowledge about epilepsy

    Primary care physicians, including pediatricians, admit that they are not as familiar about specific aspects of epilepsy as they should be and that they need more training in management of the disease.

    Several recent surveys of health care professionals who care for children with epilepsy revealed what epilepsy specialists would consider to be misconceptions about treatment and management of pediatric epilepsy.

    In a survey that focused on surgery practices for intractable epilepsy, nearly two-thirds of responding physicians (58% were pediatricians) were unsure whether surgical intervention should be considered for patients who fail anticonvulsant drug therapy, although specialists know that surgery is the current guideline.

    Another survey of pediatricians in Canada found that only 34% of respondents said they knew of sudden unexplained death in epilepsy (SUDEP), a rare but serious complication of frequent seizures, and just 57% knew that children with epilepsy are at increased risk for sudden, unexpected, unexplained death. Specialists say that awareness of SUDEP is vital.

    A third survey of behavioral health professionals who treat children with epilepsy found that 84% wanted more training in managing the psychopathologies of pediatric epilepsy in order to play a more effective role in multidisciplinary care for such patients.

    Preliminary findings from the 3 surveys were presented as posters at the 66th annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society in San Diego, California.

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