Child Neurology: Dravet syndrome: when to suspect the diagnosis

Millichap, J. J.; Koh, S.; Laux, L. C.; Nordli, D. R., Jr.

Neurology. 2009 Sep 30; 73(13):e59-62

Abstract

Dravet syndrome (DS), previously known as severe myoclonic epilepsy in infancy (SMEI), is an epileptic encephalopathy that presents with prolonged seizures in the first year of life. The seizures often occur with fever or illness, and are frequently initially categorized as febrile seizures. The correct diagnosis of DS and appropriate follow-up are typically delayed. The EEG is normal at onset, and neuroimaging reveals no structural lesion. Early development is normal, but signs of regression appear in the second year of life and are often accompanied by convulsive status epilepticus, alternating hemiconvulsions, and myoclonic seizures. Diagnosis can be confirmed by genetic testing that is now available, and shows mutations within the SCN1A gene. Early recognition and diagnosis of DS and management with appropriate anticonvulsants and treatment plan may reduce the seizure burden and improve long-term developmental outcome.

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