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J Child Neurol. 2000 Aug;15(8):548-52.

Benign childhood epileptic syndromes with occipital spikes: new classification proposed by the International League Against Epilepsy.

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  • Department of Clinical Neurophysiology, St. Thomas' Hospital, London, UK. tomopanayiotopoulos@gstt.sthames.nhs.uk


In a recent proposal, the Commission on Classification and Terminology of the International League Against Epilepsy recognized early-onset childhood epilepsy with occipital spikes (Panayiotopoulos type), differentiating it from the only other type of childhood epilepsy with occipital spikes previously accepted: late-onset childhood epilepsy with occipital spikes (Gastaut type). The importance of this newly recognized syndrome of benign childhood partial seizures is that it is very common-only 2.4 times less frequent than benign rolandic epilepsy, and of equally excellent prognosis. It is characterized by a unique seizure type comprising a combination of autonomic and behavioral disturbances, vomiting, deviation of the eyes, and often with impairment of consciousness that can progress to convulsions. These commonly last for more than 3 minutes and in one quarter of cases for hours. One or more of these symptoms can predominate or be absent. Eyes can remain open without deviation, ictal vomiting might not occur, and autonomic and behavioral disturbances can predominate, particularly in the early stages of the ictus, and be missed in nocturnal seizures. Age at onset is 5 years, with a singular or a median of three seizures, which are predominantly nocturnal. Interictal electroencephalography (EEG) frequently shows occipital paroxysms or occipital spikes but one-fifth of the cases have only extraoccipital spikes on normal EEG. Treatment might not be needed. Panayiotopoulos syndrome, like rolandic epilepsy, needs recognition by the general pediatrician because of the invariably excellent prognosis and also because it can be misdiagnosed as an acute cerebral insult.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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