Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy: factors of error involved in the diagnosis and treatment.
Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME), a common form of idiopathic generalized epilepsy, has a distinct clinical and electroencephalographic profile. Often JME is not recognized, with serious consequences on the sufferers. We examined factors contributing to the missed diagnosis even in an epilepsy clinic. Of 70 JME patients, 66 (91.4%) were not diagnosed on referral and 22 (33%) were not initially recognized in the epilepsy clinic. The correct diagnosis was established after a mean of 8.3 +/- 5.5 years from disease onset and an interval of 17.7 +/- 10.4 months from first evaluation in the epilepsy clinic. Myoclonic jerks, the hallmark of the disease, were not usually reported by patients. Similarly, relevant questioning may not be included in the history. Absence seizures antedating jerks by many years, myoclonic jerks reported as unilateral, generalized tonic-clonic seizures occurring during sleep and focal EEG abnormalities are other factors contributing to not recognizing JME. Our study reemphasizes the need to have not only a correct seizure diagnosis but also a correct epilepsy-disease diagnosis.
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