Questioning the presence of any possible prognostic predictors, this study includes a long-term follow-up of clinical and EEG characteristics of 16 patients with idiopathic partial epilepsy (IPE) who subsequently developed epilepsy with electrical status epilepticus during slow sleep (ESES) spectrum disorders.
Epilepsy, cognitive and behavioral parameters, and waking and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) EEG data were evaluated and scored for initial stage (i.e., IPE stage), preESES, ESES, and ESES remission periods, individually, on a chronologic basis. Data from 25 healthy subjects who had had IPE at the appropriate ages served for comparison with the patients' data during the IPE stage.
Results revealed a higher incidence in seizure frequency and variability in the ESES group and a resistance to a single antiepileptic drug (AED), as compared with controls, during the IPE stage. Mean age at onset of epilepsy was younger in the ESES group versus controls (5.5 and 7.3 years, respectively). At least one of the premonitory clinical features for development of ESES [an increase in the seizure frequency and/or addition of new types of seizures (93%), appearance of cognitive and/or behavioural changes (81.2%), or a progression in EEG abnormalities (66%)] was present in all patients. Epilepsy remitted in patients within the ESES spectrum at a similar age as in controls in 81.2%, as ESES findings in the EEG disappeared by age 13 years in 94%. Seizure prognosis proved to be the most favorable among the questioned parameters.
An increase in seizure frequency or development of new seizure types, a deviance in behavior or decrease in cognitive performance, or a spreading tendency of the previously focal abnormalities in control EEGs may be premonitory features of a developing ESES and necessitate close follow-ups with sleep EEGs in children with IPEs.