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J Neurol Sci. 2009 Feb 15;277(1-2):37-49. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2008.10.009. Epub 2008 Nov 26.

Treatment of epilepsy in severely disabled children with bilateral brain malformations.

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Department of Child Neurology, National Center Hospital for Mental, Nervous and Muscular Disorders, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry (NCNP), Japan.


To determine a management strategy for the epilepsy in children with bilateral cortical malformations, clinical data of 23 patients (age, 3-23 years, M:F=7:16) were retrospectively reviewed. Among these patients, 15 were bedridden and 16 were profoundly retarded and could not even smile. The patients were categorized into the following five groups based on the findings of neuroimaging, seizure types, and electroencephalographic patterns. Group 1: Diffuse cortical malformation with epileptic spasms and secondarily generalized tonic seizures, group 2: diffuse cortical malformation with erratic twitches, group 3: bilaterally extended but not diffuse cortical malformations, group 4: bilateral polymicrogyria with persistent epileptic spasms (Aicardi syndrome), and group 5: bilateral cortical malformation with drop attacks (subcortical band heterotopia and congenital bilateral perisylvian syndrome). Eleven patients suffered from infantile spasms; adrenocorticotropic hormone was effective in group 1 but ineffective in group 4. Treatment of tonic seizures in groups 1-3 and erratic twitching in group 3 with phenobarbital, zonisamide and potassium bromide was beneficial. Epileptic spasms and tonic seizures were prominent in group 4 and were refractory to medical treatment, except that zonisamide, clobazam, and a ketogenic diet were partially or transiently effective. Complex partial and astatic/atonic seizures in group 5 were refractory to medications other than that carbamazepine and clobazam provided limited benefits. Total callosotomy resulted in better seizure control for three patients in group 5, and functional hemispherectomy was effective for one patient in group 4. These results provide the basis for the appropriate choice of medical and surgical treatment for managing bilateral, widespread cortical malformations.

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