Aims: To determine if there is an electroencephalographic pattern suggestive of pyridoxine dependent epilepsy that could be used to improve the chances of early diagnosis.
Methods: A retrospective study was made of all the clinical records and electroencephalograms of neonates identified with pyridoxine dependent seizures between 1983 and 1994, at this hospital. Neonates whose seizures began after more than 28 days of life were excluded; in all, five patients from four families were studied. Follow up ranged from 2 to 10 years.
Results: A history of miscarriage and neonatal death during an epileptic seizure had occurred in the siblings of two families. One mother reported rhythmic movements of her child during the last month of pregnancy. At birth, all babies were hypotonic; four had decreased visual alertness. All babies were agitated, irritable, jittery, hyperalert, and exhibited sleeplessness and a startle reaction to touch and sound. Age of onset of seizures varied from 30 minutes to 3 days. Seizures of various types were recorded in all cases on EEG tracings, including spasms, myoclonic seizures, partial clonic, and secondary generalised seizures. Burst-suppression patterns occurred in three cases, and a combination of continuous and discontinuous patterns in two others. Bilateral high voltage delta slow wave activity was observed in four patients. Psychomotor delay was severe in three patients, moderate in one, and mild in one.
Conclusions: There is an identifiable EEG pattern that is highly suggestive of pyridoxine dependent epilepsy. Pyridoxine dependent epilepsy is probably underdiagnosed.