Seizure frequency and characteristics in children with Down syndrome

Brain Dev. 2001 Oct;23(6):375-8. doi: 10.1016/s0387-7604(01)00239-x.


Seizures have not historically been considered a major component of Down syndrome. We examined the prevalence of epileptic seizures in 350 children and adolescents with Down syndrome evaluated at a regional center between 1985 and 1997. Results showed that 28 patients (8%) had epileptic seizures: 13 (47%) partial seizures; 9 (32%) infantile spasms, and 6 (21%) generalized tonic-clonic seizures. In the infantile spasm group, there was no relationship between the initial electroencephalogram (EEG) pattern and response to treatment or long-term seizure control, or between type of pharmacologic treatment (valproic acid, adrenocorticotropic hormone or both) and clinical remission, EEG normalization or long-term seizure control. Neurodevelopmental outcome was poor despite good seizure control in the infantile spasm group. This regional study reinforces the relative association of seizures and Down syndrome. A prospective study including a national/international registry with emphasis on developmental assessment and long-term follow up is warranted.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Down Syndrome / complications*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsies, Partial
  • Epilepsy, Tonic-Clonic / complications
  • Epilepsy, Tonic-Clonic / drug therapy
  • Epilepsy, Tonic-Clonic / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Seizures / complications*
  • Seizures / drug therapy
  • Seizures / epidemiology*


  • Anticonvulsants