Early-onset benign childhood occipital seizure susceptibility syndrome: a syndrome to recognize

Epilepsia. 1999 May;40(5):621-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1157.1999.tb05565.x.


Early-onset benign childhood occipital seizures (EBOS) described by Panayiotopoulos constitute the commoner after the rolandic phenotype of a childhood seizure susceptibility syndrome. EBOS are the clinical representative of occipital spikes. Their cardinal features are infrequent (often single) partial seizures manifested with deviation of the eyes and vomiting, frequently evolving to hemi- or generalized convulsions. Ictal behavioral changes, irritability, pallor, and rarely cyanosis, and eyes wide open are frequent. Retching, coughing, aphemia, oropharyngolaryngeal movements, and incontinence may occur. Consciousness is usually impaired or lost, either from the onset or the course of the fits, but in a few children, it may be preserved. Duration varies from a few minutes to hours (partial status epilepticus). Seizures are usually nocturnal, but semiology is similar in nocturnal or diurnal fits. Onset is between 1 and 12 years with a peak at 5 years. One third of children have a single seizure, the median total number of fits is two to three, and the prognosis is invariably excellent, with remission usually occurring within 1 year from onset. A few children may later develop rolandic or other benign partial seizures. The likelihood to have seizures after age 12 years is exceptional and rarer than that of febrile convulsions. EEG shows occipital paroxysms demonstrating fixation-off sensitivity, but random occipital spikes, occipital spikes in sleep EEG alone, or normal EEG may occur. Centrotemporal and other spike foci may appear in the same or more frequently in subsequent EEGs. The EEG does not reflect clinical course and severity.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Age of Onset
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Comorbidity
  • Electroencephalography* / statistics & numerical data
  • Epilepsies, Partial / diagnosis
  • Epilepsies, Partial / epidemiology
  • Epilepsies, Partial / physiopathology*
  • Epilepsy, Rolandic / diagnosis
  • Epilepsy, Rolandic / epidemiology
  • Epilepsy, Rolandic / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Occipital Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Prognosis
  • Terminology as Topic