Introduction: Progressive encephalopathy with oedema, hypsarrhythmia and optic atrophy (PEHO syndrome) is a pathological process that begins in the first months of life and quickly leads to a very serious encephalopathy. We report the case of an infant suffering from PEHO syndrome and discuss its pathogenesis.
Case report: A 4 year old male, the son of parents who were not blood related, with no pre or perinatal background of interest, who, from the first month, was seen to have a moderate retardation in psychomotor development and generalised hypotonia. These clinical signs increased progressively over the next months. From the age of 6 months onwards infantile spasms were observed, together with an EEG displaying hypsarrhythmic characteristics, slight facial oedema as well as in the hands, abnormal ocular movements and loss of vision with optic atrophy. In the neuroimaging serial studies, MRI showed a progressive atrophy of the brain stem and the cerebellum associated with cortical atrophy, hypoplasia of the corpus callosum and retarded myelination.
Conclusions: Diagnosis of PEHO syndrome is essentially clinical with the help of neuroimaging, since there is no biological or genetic marker. The case described fulfils the criteria required for diagnosis of PEHO syndrome. The existence of cases in the family suggests that PEHO syndrome is due to a genetically based neurodevelopmental disorder. To our knowledge this is the first case reported in Spain.