Health-related quality of life in Veterans with epileptic and psychogenic nonepileptic seizures

Martin Salinsky, Paul Rutecki, Karen Parko, Elizabeth Goy, Daniel Storzbach, Sheila Markwardt, Laurence Binder, Sandra Joos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Rationale: Health-related quality of life (HRQoL) is compromised in civilians with epileptic seizures (ES) or psychogenic nonepileptic seizures (PNES). U.S. Veterans are a distinct patient group with regard to gender, age, and background. We studied HRQoL in Veterans and asked the following: (1) Is there a difference in HRQoL in Veterans with ES vs. PNES?; (2) What factors influence HRQoL in each group?; (3) What factors influenced the difference between seizure groups? Methods: We studied consecutive Veterans entering the epilepsy monitoring units (EMUs) of three VA Epilepsy Centers of Excellence. Patients underwent continuous video-EEG monitoring. Seizure diagnoses followed established criteria. Health-related quality of life was measured with the Quality of Life in Epilepsy Inventory-31 (QOLIE-31). Evaluations included the Structured Clinical Interview for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV (DSM IV), the posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) Checklist (PCL), the Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II), and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 Restructured form (MMPI-2RF). Between-group differences were tested with Wilcoxon tests. Nested regression analysis was used to evaluate the influence of demographic, social, military, seizure-related, and psychological factors on QOLIE-31 scores. Results: The median QOLIE-31 total score was 14 points lower in Veterans with PNES vs. ES (p < 0.001; Cohen's d = 0.73). Within each seizure group, psychological factors accounted for ≥ 50% of the variance in QOLIE scores while combined demographic, social, and seizure-related factors accounted for 18% (group with ES) and 7% (PNES). Psychological measures, particularly PCL and the BDI-II scores, accounted for all of the difference in QOLIE-31 total scores between Veterans with ES and those with PNES. Conclusions: Health-related quality of life as measured by the QOLIE-31 is worse in Veterans with PNES as compared with those with ES. Psychological factors account for the most of the variance in QOLIE-31 scores regardless of seizure type and also account for the difference between groups with PNES and ES. Demographic, military, social, and seizure-related factors have minimal influence on HRQoL. These results in U.S. Veterans are similar to those found in civilians despite differences in patient age, gender, and background.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-77
Number of pages6
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
StatePublished - May 2019


  • Epilepsy
  • Psychogenic seizures
  • Quality of life
  • Veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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