3rd Department of Pediatrics, Hippokration Hospital, Konstantinoupoleos 49, 54642 Thessaloniki, Greece.
Objectives: the aim of this retrospective, multicentre study was to investigate the relationship between epilepsy, clinical, electroencephalographic (EEG) and neuroimaging findings in children with congenital hemiplegia (CH).
Patients and methods: two hundred and three children with CH were assessed by history, neurological and developmental examination.Electroencephalogram (EEG) and CT/MRI brain imaging were performed in 150 of them (81/150 had an MRI and 69/150 had a CT scan).Patients were re-evaluated every six months for, at least, a two-year follow-up period (range 2-14 yrs).
Results: the EEG was abnormal in 76% of patients; epileptic seizures developed in 38.9% of them. The frequency of epilepsy paralleled the degree of EEG abnormality, approaching 85% in patients with severe EEG abnormalities and was also closely related to the extent of neuroimaging findings (up to 79% in patients with cerebral malformations).The prevalence of epilepsy in 12/62 patients (19.4%) with mild hemiplegia was significantly lower as compared to 67/141 (47.5%) of patients with moderate or severe hemiplegia. 36.7% of the children had their first seizure between the 1st and the 5th year of life, and 26.5% during the first year of life.
Conclusions: epileptic seizures developed in more than one third of patients with CH, although EEG abnormalities were evident in the majority of them.The prevalence of epilepsy is closely related to the severity of hemiparesis, the extent of neuroimaging findings and the degree of EEG abnormalities.The absence of EEG abnormalities and/or normal (or minor) neuroimaging findings was negatively related to the occurrence of epilepsy.