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Am J Med Genet A. 2005 Dec 15;139(3):204-11.

Epidemiology of hemimegalencephaly: a case series and review.

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Division of Human Genetics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH 45229, USA.


Hemimegalencephaly (HME) is a congenital brain malformation characterized by unilateral enlargement of the cerebral hemisphere. Clinically, HME is typically associated with hemiparesis, psychomotor retardation, and intractable seizures usually apparent soon after birth. HME is often an isolated finding, but it has been described as an occasional feature of a large number of syndromes, many of which may not be readily identified at birth. There are a multitude of case series and reports of HME in the English literature; however, there is no comprehensive, unbiased, detailed survey characterizing the proportion of cases of HME that are associated with a syndrome. We performed a retrospective study of all cases of HME seen at our institution from 1990 to 2003. Of the 15 cases of HME identified, 53% (8/15) were non-syndromic and 47% (7/15) of the cases were associated with a known or suspected genetic syndrome. In patients with syndromic HME, many of the syndromic features were not readily discernible at birth or in early infancy. It is, therefore, imperative to continually evaluate any infant with HME for signs and symptoms of these and other syndromes. Knowing the relative differential diagnosis will lead to a more comprehensive evaluation, improvement in expectant management, and appropriate counseling of families before considering radical surgical options such as hemispherectomy.

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