Cognitive Outcome After Epilepsy Surgery in Children

Ahsan N V Moosa, Elaine Wyllie
Seminars in Pediatric Neurology 2017, 24 (4): 331-339
Cognitive dysfunction in children with epilepsy is primarily contributed by etiology, seizures, frequency of interictal epileptiform discharges, and adverse effects of antiepileptic drugs. The direct effect of epilepsy surgery on cognitive outcome depends on two key factors: the function that is present in the epileptogenic zone to be removed, and the dysfunction outside the epileptogenic zone caused by epilepsy. Studies on cognitive outcome in children after various types of epilepsy surgery estimate "no significant change" in about 70% of children, improvement in cognition in 10%-15%, and decline in 10%-15%. In young children with epileptic encephalopathy, the reversible dysfunction outside the epileptogenic zone is larger and hence carry better chances of improved outcome after successful surgery. If the epileptogenic zone harbors significant cognitive function (memory, language, or other function), then a decline in function may occur with its resection. Understanding the pathophysiological basis for the cognitive changes after epilepsy surgery assists in counseling patients and families before surgery.

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