To examine the prevalence of epilepsy and delivery of epilepsy care in Ireland. A multiple case ascertainment methodology was employed examining five nationwide data sources. Data were obtained via (1) a nationwide population-based health survey, (2) secondary data analysis of all reimbursements for prescriptions of antiepilepsy medication nationwide from 2002 to 2005, (3) a nationwide survey of primary care community-based physicians, (4) a nationwide survey of specialist care hospital-based neurologists, and (5) secondary data analysis of inpatient discharges from acute hospitals nationwide for persons with a diagnosis of epilepsy between 2000 and 2005. The findings indicate that nationwide approximately (1) 10 per 1,000 persons (n = 31,000) 18 years and older have self-reported lifetime prevalence of epilepsy, (2) 8.3-9 per 1,000 (approximately 33,000-36,000) persons 5 years and older are being treated for epilepsy using antiepilepsy medication, (3) the typical general practitioner provides care to an average of 13 patients with active epilepsy and epilepsy in remission with treatment, (4) specialist care is provided on a weekly basis to approximately 442 persons with active epilepsy and epilepsy in remission with treatment, and (5) approximately 67 discharges for persons with a primary or secondary diagnosis of epilepsy are reported from acute hospitals weekly. This study is distinguished as the first nationwide prevalence study of epilepsy in Europe and provides previously unavailable data on this population in Ireland. Moreover, this study illustrates the merits of secondary data analysis of existing sources when access to clinical sources for the purpose of identifying epidemiologic samples is limited.
University College Dublin ->