Epilepsy in children with perinatal arterial ischemic stroke
Fabienne Kühne, Alexander Jungbluth, Joanna Schneider, Christoph Bührer, Christine Prager, Angela M. Kaindl
Purpose: Perinatal ischemic stroke (PIS) is a frequent cause for perinatal brain structure defects resulting in epilepsy, cerebral palsy and disability. Since the severity of symptoms is variable, the aim of this study was to evaluate the outcome of children with PIS and seizures/epilepsy to aid parental counseling and therapy decisions.
Material: We studied retrospectively patients with arterial PIS and structural epilepsy or seizures in the newborn treated at a single center in 2000-2019. Specifically, signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy (CP), developmental and motor delay, epilepsy and thrombophilia were assessed.
Results: From the identified 69 individuals with arterial PIS, we only included the 50 patients (64% male) who had structural epilepsy at the time of investigation or previously in their medical history.The mean age of the included patients was 7.1 years (range 0.08-22) at last consultation. Infarct localisation was predominantly unilateral (86%), left sided (58%) and affecting the middle cerebral artery (94%). Genetic thrombophilia was identified in 52% of the patients examined with genetic testing. More than half of the individuals had CP (52%), and 38.5% had a cognitive outcome below average. First seizures occurred in the neonatal period in 58% of patients and developed into drug-refractory epilepsy in 24.1%. Children with late-onset of epilepsy were twice as likely to develop drug-refractory epilepsy (52.4%).
Discussion: Our study shows that patients with PIS and seizures as common sequela often also develop CP. Children with later onset of epilepsy have a worse outcome. Patients with seizure onset in the neonatal period and reccuring seizures have a good response to treatment. Therefore, early diagnosis, follow-up examination and adequate therapy are important. Most children need intensive physiotherapy and speech therapy; however, participation in life is usually age-appropriate.