What is Post-traumatic seizures?
Post-traumatic seizures (PTS) are seizures that result from traumatic brain injury (TBI), brain damage caused by physical trauma. PTS may be a risk factor for post-traumatic epilepsy (PTE), but a person who has a seizure or seizures due to traumatic brain injury does not necessarily have PTE, which is a form of epilepsy, a chronic condition in which seizures occur repeatedly. However, "PTS" and "PTE" may be used interchangeably in medical literature.
Seizures are usually an indication of a more severe TBI. Seizures that occur shortly after a person suffers a brain injury may further damage the already vulnerable brain. They may reduce the amount of oxygen available to the brain, cause excitatory neurotransmitters to be released in excess, increase the brain's metabolic need, and raise the pressure within the intracranial space, further contributing to damage. Thus, people who suffer severe head trauma are given anticonvulsant medications as a precaution against seizures.
Around 5–7% of people hospitalized with TBI have at least one seizure. PTS are more likely to occur in more severe injuries, and certain types of injuries increase the risk further. The risk that a person will suffer PTS becomes progressively lower as time passes after the injury. However, TBI survivors may still be at risk over 15 years after the injury. Children and older adults are at a higher risk for PTS.