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Epileptic Disord. 2002 Mar;4(1):35-42.

Atypical evolution of Panayiotopoulos syndrome: a case report.

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  • 1Department of Paediatric Neurology, Leeds General Infirmary, Leeds.


Panayiotopoulos syndrome is a relatively common condition with susceptibility to early onset benign childhood seizures, which manifests primarily with autonomic and mainly emetic symptoms. It predominantly affects children of 3-6 years of age (13% of those with one or more non-febrile seizures). EEG shows great variability, with occipital, extra-occipital spikes or brief generalised discharges alone or in combination; it may also be consistently normal. Occipital spikes do not occur in one third of children. Despite the high prevalence of autonomic status epilepticus, the prognosis of Panayiotopoulos syndrome is usually excellent. Remission usually occurs within 1-2 years from onset, one third have a single seizure but 5-10% may have more than 10 seizures or a more prolonged course. Atypical evolutions with absences, atonic seizures and intellectual deterioration are exceptional; only two cases have been previously reported. We present a girl who initially had a prolonged autonomic status epilepticus typical of Panayiotopoulos syndrome, followed by seizures, with concurrent symptoms of Rolandic epilepsy. She then had an atypical evolution with atypical absences, absence status epilepticus, atonic seizures and mild impairment of scholastic performance. The case emphasises the close links between Panayiotopoulos syndrome and Rolandic epilepsy, both of which probably represent different clinical phenotypes of a maturational-related benign childhood seizure susceptibility syndrome [published with videosequences].

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