Epilepsy syndromes

A syndrome is a group of signs and symptoms which, if they occur together, can suggest a particular condition.

Many children will have a set of related symptoms which fit a particular pattern and this will determine which syndrome they have.

Knowing a child’s syndrome will help the doctors to choose the appropriate antiepileptic drug and also give a more accurate outlook for the child. It can also help to point the family in the right direction to get help and support.

When classifying syndromes, doctors will take into account:

  • The part of the brain involved during seizures.
  • The seizure type that the child has experienced.
  • The age when seizures started.
  • Any factors that cause seizures.
  • Results of investigations, e.g. EEG or results of CT or MRI scans.
  • Any related symptoms or problems that the child may be experiencing with their development, behaviour or learning.

Knowing the syndrome will be useful for understanding whether seizures can be controlled; medication; other related difficulties such as learning, behaviour or social functioning, and whether the epilepsy is hereditary.

Some of the epilepsy syndromes in childhood include:

NB: Young Epilepsy are currently reviewing our information portfolio, and will be updated October 2023.

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