Objective: To characterize seizures in family members of patients with refractory temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) and hippocampal sclerosis (HS).
Methods: The authors systematically investigated family history (FH) of seizures in 66 probands with histologically proven HS, and in 51 control subjects. A positive FH was defined as at least one first-to-third-degree relative being affected. The odds ratio (OR) to be affected with seizures was calculated for siblings, parents, and aunts/uncles.
Results: An FH of seizures was found in 58% of patients, and in 24% of control subjects (p = 0.02). A variety of seizure types were found. Siblings of patients were more likely to be affected than siblings of control subjects (OR 11.5; 95% CI = 1.5 to 86.9 p = 0.003), with febrile convulsions occurring in 5.8% of the siblings of patients. The OR of being affected was 5.7 for parents of patients, and 1.9 for aunts/uncles of patients (p = NS).
Conclusion: FH of seizures, particularly febrile convulsions, are a risk factor for TLE with HS. These data suggest that a variety of genes contributing to epilepsy phenotypes in relatives may be involved in the pathogenesis of HS.