Treatment of epilepsy abroad

Epilepsy is among the most common neurological diseases in the world. At least 5% of patients experience 1 or more epileptic seizure during life. Approximately 0,5%-1% of patients have been diagnosed with epilepsy. This disease affects about 3-5% of the population in some regions. According to the WHO data, 75% of patients don’t receive adequate medical help. 


Epilepsy treatment abroad


Causes of epilepsy

Main risk factors of epilepsy are:

  • Young orelderlyage
  • Geneticpredisposition 
  • Male sex
  • Vascularillnesses
  • Craniocerebral trauma, encephalitis in the medical record
  • Violation of carbohydrate or water-electrolyte metabolism
  • Alcoholism


Symptoms of epilepsy

Epilepsy is manifested by the recurring epileptic seizures. They can have various clinical course that depends on the focus of epileptiform activity of the brain location.


During the course of the disease there such periods as:

  • Ictal (during an attack)
  • Post-ictal (the time after an attack)
  • Interictal (between seizures)


Attacks can be with aura and without it. The first symptoms of an attack with an aura are:

  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Speech disorders
  • Numbness of tongue and lips
  • Compression in the throat
  • Lack of air
  • Drowsiness
  • Noise in ears
  • Feeling of heat


Epilepsy symproms


A classic epileptic attack. A person loses consciousness and falls after an aura (or without it). The muscles of the chest contract and there is a spasm of the glottis, which is manifested by a loud cry. There are tonic cramps: the torso stretches, the head throws back, the veins on the neck swell, and the breath is held. The jaws are compressed. The face turns pale, and then turns blue.

Clonic convulsions occur in 20 seconds. Neck muscles and torso muscles are contracting. Foam comes out the mouth with blood. Frequency of seizures gradually decreases. 

All the muscles relax in 2-3 minutes. Involuntary urination might be possible. 


Absenses seizures are most often observed in children. Suddenly, the patient stops any activity (conversation, active movements) and freezes or blanks out. At this time the child does not respond to any stimuli. After a few seconds, the activity of the brain is restored. The patient does not notice the attack and continues to act as if nothing had happened. The frequency of such epileptic seizures can reach several dozen a day.


Epilepsy treatment abroad


The other possible symptoms of epileptic seizure are: 

  • Hallucinations (visual, auditory, olfactory)
  • Complex automatisms and active gesticulation
  • Speech disappears
  • Increasedheart rate
  • Involuntarylaughter
  • Feeling of absence of half of the body
  • Abdominal pain
  • Headache
  • Forced closure of the eyelids
  • Sensation of the passage of an electric current through the body
  • Feeling offear


According to the nature of the clinical course and the dominant symptoms, the doctor can determine in which area of the brain the focus of epileptiform activity is located. But for an accurate definition of it, instrumental diagnostics is required.



Epilepsy diagnostics


Diagnostics of epilepsy

Epilepsy is a clinical diagnosis established on the basis of the anamnesis data and physical examination. The reason for the diagnostics are due to 2 and more epileptic seizures experienced by a patient that are not associated to certain causes and trigger factors. 


Next instrumental diagnostics methods help to establish a diagnosis:

  • Electroencephalogram
  • EEG monitoring  is done to determine the functional activity of the brain in dynamics
  • Imaging methods are CT, MRI (to detect aneurysms, tumours and other possible causes of epileptic seizures).


Epilepsy is NOT diagnosed if:

  • There are no epileptic seizures even if EEG showed the presence of epileptiform activity of the brain;
  • Epileptic seizures are triggered by the certain cause like a tumour of central nervous system or an acute period of the craniocerebral trauma. 


Epilepsy treatment abroad


Treatment of epilepsy abroad

Most patients receive conservative treatment for epilepsy abroad. Specialists prescribe medication that help to stop seizures and bring the quality of life back to normal. Conservative treatment is effective for 70-80% of patients. 


There are cases of the pharmacotherapy-resistant epilepsy (impossibility of complete cessation of seizures with drugs). 20-30% of all patients do not react or react poorly to medication. The number of resistant forms decrease, as new drugs are constantly being developed for the treatment of epilepsy.


Stable result can be achieved with the help of surgical treatment methods. Today, the following directions of operations are applied: 

  • Removal of epileptogenic brain tissue. Various operations are performed like lobectomy, cortical totectomy, hemisferectomy, amygdalo-hippocampectomy and others. 
  • Callosotomy is a surgery aimed at the corpus callosum transection. As a result, the left and right hemispheres of the brain are completely separated.
  • Stimulation of the vagus nerve. Adevice that stimulates the vagus nerve is put under the skin of the patient. In 50% of cases this leads to a decrease in seizure activity and the cessation of seizures.
  • Neurostimulator installation. This device is located directly near the epilepsy focus. It determines the functional activity of the brain and stabilises it before the attack occurs. 


Professionals in German hospitals can cure epilepsy with the help of the latest and modern techniques. Neurosurgical interventions are very complex and require a highly skilled surgeon and state of the art medical equipment. It is important that the operation not only ceases epileptic seizures, but also leaves behind minimum neurological defects.


Therefore, many patients prefer medical tourism. They go to the health clinics in Munich, Berlin and other German cities. Medical tourism allows you to get access to quality medical care, regardless of where you live.


Epilepsy prognosis


Prognosis for epilepsy

Prognosis for epilepsy depends on its variety. The disease completely passes after taking the medication or with age in the most favourable cases. In most patients, seizures stop with the continuous use of medication. In some patients, epilepsy progresses and eventually leads to irreversible damage of the brain.


The greatest danger is the status epilepticus. This attack lasts for 30 or more minutes, or it can be a series of attacks of a similar total duration, if there is no recovery of the patient's consciousness. Natural course of the attack, without medical assistance, results in fatality for about 50% of sufferers. Among patients who receive care, mortality is 5-10%. Epileptic status at experienced at least once in a lifetime is by 5% of adults and 20% of children with epilepsy.




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