Table 10.5

Criteria for childhood absence epilepsy

Inclusion criteria
  1. Age at onset between 4 and 10 years and a peak at 5–7 years.
  2. Normal neurological state and development.
  3. Brief (4–20 seconds, exceptionally longer) and frequent (tens per day) absence seizures with abrupt and severe impairment (loss) of consciousness. Automatisms are frequent but have no significance in the diagnosis.
  4. EEG ictal discharges of generalised high-amplitude spike and double (maximum occasional three spikes are allowed) spike and slow wave complexes. Spike-wave is rhythmic at around 3 Hz with a gradual and regular slowdown from the initial to the terminal phase of the discharge. The duration of the discharges varies from 4 to 20 seconds.
Exclusion criteriaThe following may be incompatible with childhood absence epilepsy:
  1. Other than typical absence seizures such as GTCS, or myoclonic jerks before or during the active stage of absences.
  2. Eyelid myoclonia, perioral myoclonia, rhythmic massive limb jerking, and single or arrhythmic myoclonic jerks of the head, trunk or limbs. However, mild myoclonic elements of the eyes, eyebrows, and eyelids may be featured – particularly in the first 3 seconds of the absence seizure.
  3. Mild or no impairment of consciousness during the 3–4 Hz discharges.
  4. Brief EEG 3–4 Hz spike wave paroxysms of <4 seconds, multiple spikes (>3) or ictal discharge fragmentations.
  5. Visual (photic) and other sensory precipitation of clinical seizures.

From: Chapter 10, Idiopathic Generalised Epilepsies

Cover of The Epilepsies
The Epilepsies: Seizures, Syndromes and Management.
Panayiotopoulos CP.
Oxfordshire (UK): Bladon Medical Publishing; 2005.
Copyright © 2005, Bladon Medical Publishing, an imprint of Springer Science+Business Media.

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