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A study of 43 patients with panayiotopoulos syndrome, a common and benign childhood seizure susceptibility.

Epilepsia 2003 January
PURPOSE: To determine prevalence, clinical, EEG features, and prognosis of Panayiotopoulos syndrome and to examine the proposition that clinical manifestations are more important than EEG findings.

METHODS: We analyzed retrospectively the clinical and EEG records of 1,340 children with one or more focal seizures seen in the last 18 years, supplemented with a prospective study from 1998. Panayiotopoulos syndrome was defined by clinical criteria, mainly ictal emesis, irrespective of EEG findings.

RESULTS: We analyzed 43 of 90 patients with Panayiotopoulos syndrome who were seizure free >2 years. Girls predominated. Mean age at first seizure was 5 years. Seizures consisted mainly of autonomic manifestations; ictal emesis was often the first symptom, culminating in vomiting in 86%. Of nonautonomic manifestations, lateral eye deviation was the most common; visual symptoms were exceptional. Impairment of consciousness ensued in all seizures, half of which ended with hemi or generalized convulsions. Nearly 46.5% of cases had at least one seizure >30 min, constituting autonomic status epilepticus. Seizures during sleep (84%) were more common than those in wakefulness. EEG showed occipital spikes in 29 patients. Of the other 14 cases, five had extraoccipital abnormalities or brief generalized discharges, and nine had normal awake and sleep EEG. Prognosis was excellent. All 43 children have been free of seizures for > or =2 years, 53% having a single seizure, and 47%, an average two to three seizures.

CONCLUSIONS: Panayiotopoulos syndrome is common and needs wider recognition. EEG shows occipital or extraoccipital abnormalities, is normal in one third of patients, and does not determine clinical manifestations or prognosis, which is excellent despite the high prevalence of lengthy seizures.

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