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High-resolution mapping of epilepsy prevalence, ambulance use, and socioeconomic deprivation in an urban area of Sweden

Journal article
Authors Carl Magnusson
Johan Zelano
Published in Epilepsia
Volume 60
Issue 10
Pages 2060-2067
ISSN 0013-9580
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience
Institute of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine
Pages 2060-2067
Language en
Keywords epidemiology, epilepsy, seizure, socioeconomic, antiepileptic drug prescriptions, emergency-department visits, care, seizure, onset, delay, risk, Neurosciences & Neurology
Subject categories Neurosciences, Epidemiology


Objective Geographic differences in epilepsy prevalence between areas of different socioeconomic standing have been demonstrated in the United Kingdom, but knowledge from other health care systems is scarce. Our objective was to compare epilepsy prevalence and emergency medical service (EMS) assignments for seizures in areas of different socioeconomic standings in the urban area of Gothenburg. Methods Register-based study in Gothenburg (population 690 000), the second largest city in Sweden. Epilepsy cases were identified in the comprehensive national patient register in 2014-2015. EMS assignments were identified in the EMS dispatch system in 2013-2018. Socioeconomic variables were mean income and proportion of welfare recipients. Results Significant correlations were seen between epilepsy prevalence and the proportion of welfare recipients (r = .49, P = .0014) and annual income per capita (r = -.42, P = .0071). There were 7907 assignments for seizures during the study years. GPS-based analysis showed that most assignments occurred in the city center. In addition, several high-density areas correlated with areas with a high proportion of inhabitants receiving welfare. Correlation analysis showed significant associations between the number of EMS assignments per capita and the proportion of welfare recipients (r = .31, P < .0001) and income (r = -.19, P < .0001). When comparing representative areas, a greater proportion of assignments was given the highest priority in high status areas compared to low status areas, both by the dispatch center and EMS clinicians on scene. Significance Our findings that epilepsy prevalence and seizure frequency differ with socioeconomic status on a microgeographic level considerably strengthen the generalizability of previous observations across different health care systems. Differences in priority may reflect health utilization behavior or access to neurologic care.

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