Telemedicine is a real-time interactive communication method where patients are assessed and treated remotely. Epilepsy is one of the most frequent neurological disorders in childhood. However, specialists and subspecialists are scarce in rural settings. In neurology, telemedicine has been shown to be useful in the treatment of epilepsy and other neurodevelopmental disorders.
We gathered data from patients diagnosed with epilepsy and managed through telemedicine consultations from January 2011 to February 2020. We collected data on the number of consultations, town/city of origin, treatment, aetiology, seizure type, treatment adherence, loss to follow up, discharges, and comorbidities.
We identified a total of 467 patients (180 girls and 287 boys). The largest age group was pre-school children, with 160 cases (34.2%). Seizures were focal in 253 cases (54.2%) and generalised in 214 (45.8%). Seizure aetiology was unknown in the majority of patients (69.3%). Ninety percent of patients presented good treatment adherence, and 76.8% were seizure-free. Regarding treatment, 351 patients (75%) were receiving monotherapy, and the most frequently prescribed drug was magnesium valproate, in 225 patients (64.2%). A total of 158 patients (33.8%) presented 1 comorbidity, and 19 (4%) presented 2 comorbidities.
In our study, telemedicine proved to be effective in the treatment and follow-up of paediatric patients with epilepsy living in rural settings. Its usefulness in other neuropaediatric disorders should also be evaluated.