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Seizure. 2007 Sep;16(6):485-92. Epub 2007 Apr 3.

Long term response to steroid therapy in Rasmussen encephalitis.

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Hôpital Necker Enfants Malades Service de Neurologie et maladies métaboliques-Paris APHP Universite Rene Descartes, Paris V, Paris, 75005 France.


Rasmussen encephalitis (RE) is a severe and progressive focal epilepsy of unknown origin that leads to deterioration of motor and cognitive function. In a previous study, we described positive effect of high doses of steroids during the first year after the onset of RE. The objective of this study was to evaluate this therapy at long term. We reviewed 11 patients (7 girls and 4 boys) with RE of the right hemisphere (7) and the left (4) at a follow-up of 9+/-2 years. Age at onset of RE ranged from 2 to 14 years. Six patients had no benefit from steroid therapy and underwent hemispherotomy. Five had significant reduction of seizure frequency with disappearance of epilepsia partialis continua, and improved motor function. Of these, two died of unexpected sudden death 5 and 7 years after seizure control. Two others with initial response experienced progressive recurrence of seizures 1 to 4 years after the end of steroid therapy and required hemispherotomy. Finally, only one patient exhibited total cessation of seizures with steroids for 3 years, but seizures progressively recurred although the frequency was moderate. Our data confirm that although steroid treatment can be useful when given early in the course of RE, long term relapse can occur among the good responders requiring delayed hemispheric disconnection.

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