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Rev Neurol. 2010 Mar 3;50 Suppl 3:S37-47.

[Neurocognitive dysfunction in electrical status epilepticus during slow-wave sleep syndrome: Can the natural course of the syndrome be modified with early pharmacological treatment?].

[Article in Spanish]

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  • 1Hospital Infantil Universitario Niño Jesús, Madrid, España.



Epileptic syndromes with continuous spike wave in slow-wave sleep (CSWS), including electrical status epilepticus in sleep (ESES) and Landau-Kleffner syndrome, are true epileptic encephalopathies where sustained epileptic activity is related to cognitive and behavioural decline.


To review the natural course of ESES, to define the general principles of treatment of epileptic syndromes with CSWS, to delineate the different options that are currently available for treating these epileptic encephalopathies, and to analyze the prognostic factors linked to pharmacological treatment of ESES.


Epileptic syndromes with CSWS are initially treated with a pharmacologic intervention with polytherapy of antiepileptic drugs in most cases. However, due to the poor response that CSWS often have to antiepileptic drugs, non-pharmacologic treatment options are an important part of a comprehensive treatment plan for this group of children. This article discusses the use of corticosteroids, intravenous immunoglobulins, ketogenic diet, vagus nerve stimulation, and epilepsy surgery in the treatment of patients with epileptic syndromes with CSWS.


Treatment of ESES extends beyond just control of the seizures; amelioration of the continuous epileptiform discharge must occur to improve neuropsychological outcome. There is a significant correlation between the length of the ESES period and the extent of residual intellectual deficit at follow-up. According to this knowledge, there is a well defined therapeutic interval where our different strategies of treatment may be useful, and the upper limits of this time frame to a critical period of 12-18 months.

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