13% of children with non-febrile seizures aged 3 to 6 years, 6% in the age group 1 to 15 years.
Age at onset
3 to 6 years in 74% of cases; range 1 to 14 years.
Males = females.
Neurological and mental state
Genetic and other factors
Febrile seizures in ~17%. Occurrence in other siblings is exceptional. High incidence of abnormal birth deliveries.
The seizures mainly manifest with autonomic symptoms. Emesis often culminating to vomiting is the most common (70% to 80%) but is not always present or apparent. Others include pallor, incontinence of urine and feces, mydriasis or miosis, cardio-respiratory irregularities, hypersalivation, thermoregulatory changes, and cephalic sensations. Ictal syncope (unresponsive and flaccid) is common before or without convulsions.
Behavioral ictal features are irritability or quietness, patient looks or feels unwell.
Consciousness is usually intact at onset but severely disturbed in the seizure progression.
Other ictal features include eye deviation (60% to 80%); half progress to hemiconvulsions or generalized convulsions. Visual hallucinations are rare (10%) and do not appear at the onset.
Duration is long, typically 5 to 10 min; nearly half have autonomic status epilepticus (>30 min).
2/3 of the seizures occur in sleep.
Multifocal spikes are the more common; occipital spikes +/- extra-occipital spikes predominate, extra-occipital spikes (1/3) or brief generalized discharges may occur, 1/10 have normal EEG.
Focal slow waves intermixed with spikes. May start posteriorly or anteriorly.
Excellent, remission within 1 to 2 years, 1/3 of patients have a single seizure, only ~10% have >10 seizures; 1/5 (21%) may develop other seizure types, mainly Rolandic (13%), which are usually infrequent and remit before the age of 16 years. Risk for later epilepsy is the same as in normal population. However, exceptionally autonomic seizures may be life-threatening causing cardio-respiratory arrest.
Encephalitis, atypical migraine, syncope, gastroenteritis, unspecified epilepsy, febrile convulsions, sleep disorder, motion sickness.
Continuous AED therapy is not recommended for children with a single seizure or brief seizures. For recurrent seizures, most clinicians use carbamazepine. Clobazam#, levetiracetam and sulthiame# are other possible alternatives. Lengthy seizures are a medical emergency; rectal diazepam is prescribed for home administration.
*Expert opinion, please check FDA-approved indications and prescribing information
#Not approved by the FDA
This page was adapted from:
The educational kit on epilepsies
The epileptic syndromes
By C. P. Panayiotopoulos
Originally published by MEDICINAE
21 Cave Street, Oxford OX4 1BA
First published 2006 and reprinted in 2007
Reviewed and revised June 2008 by Steven C. Schachter, MD
© 2013 Epilepsy.com. All rights reserved.