We investigated whether the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the clinical characteristics of patients with functional seizure (FS) (at the time of diagnosis) in a large multicenter international study.
This was a retrospective study. We investigated all patients with FS, who were admitted at the epilepsy monitoring units at six centers in the world: 1. Shiraz, Iran; 2. Salzburg, Austria; 3. Nancy, France; 4. Atlanta, USA; 5. Kuwait City, Kuwait; and 6. Cairo, Egypt. Patients were studied during two time periods: admitted in 2018-2019 (pre-COVID era) and 2020-2021 (COVID era).
Three hundred and twenty-six patients were studied. Two hundred and twenty-four (68.7%) patients were diagnosed before and 102 (31.3%) persons during the COVID-19 pandemic. Only, a history of family dysfunction was significantly associated with the COVID-19 pandemic era (Odds Ratio: 1.925, 95% Confidence Interval: 1.099-3.371; p = 0.022). A low level of education might also be associated with FS during the COVID-19 pandemic, at least in some cultures (e.g., the Middle-East).
The COVID-19 pandemic has not affected the clinical characteristics of patients with FS (at the time of diagnosis). However, a history of family dysfunction was significantly more frequently associated with FS during the COVID-19 pandemic. Multiagency integration of law enforcement responses, social services, and social awareness are recommended to address family dysfunction and domestic violence and support the victims during this pandemic.
Fields of Science and Technology Classification 2012
- 305 Other Human Medicine, Health Sciences