John Libbey Eurotext

Early-onset absence epilepsy at eight months of age Volume 13, issue 4, December 2011


  • Early-onset absence epilepsy at eight months of age


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Department of Pediatrics, Epilepsy Center, Nishi-Niigata Chuo National Hospital, Niigata, Department of Pediatrics, Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine, Sapporo, Department of Pediatrics and Research Institute for the Molecular Pathomechanisms of Epilepsy, Fukuoka University, Fukuoka, Department of Pediatrics, Niigata University Medical and Dental Hospital, Niigata, Japan

Early-onset absence epilepsy refers to patients with absence seizures beginning before age four and comprises a heterogeneous group of epilepsies. Onset of absence seizures in the first year of life is very rare. We report a girl with intractable absence seizures with onset at age eight months. Her seizures were characterised by loss of responsiveness, with eyes drifting upwards and some myoclonic jerks of the upper and lower limbs. These symptoms were accompanied by bilaterally symmetric high-amplitude 2-2.5 Hz generalised spike-and-wave discharges on the electroencephalogram. Her seizures were refractory to conventional antiepileptic drugs; treatment with adrenocorticotropic hormone was transiently effective. Comprehensive metabolic screening, cytogenetic, and genetic analysis did not determine an underlying cause of her condition. Patients with intractable, very early-onset absence epilepsy with a myoclonic component have an unfavourable outcome and may be classified under a new epileptic syndrome, such as “early infantile absence epilepsy”.