A proposal for case definitions and outcome measures in studies of infantile spasms and West syndrome: consensus statement of the West Delphi group

Epilepsia. 2004 Nov;45(11):1416-28. doi: 10.1111/j.0013-9580.2004.02404.x.


Purpose: To reach a broad consensus on case definitions, outcomes, and outcome measures that will ease future study design and facilitate comparison of data from different studies of infantile spasms and West syndrome.

Methods: Persons who had recently presented or published first-author original research in this field were invited to participate in an e-mail Delphi process and to invite other investigators or clinicians who they thought might participate.

Results: The process consisted of six rounds, anonymous except to the facilitator. In total, responses were received from 46 participants. The final statement was approved by 31 participants from 15 countries. It concluded that the primary clinical outcome, cessation of spasms, should denote absence of witnessed spasms from within 14 days of commencement of treatment, and for > or =28 consecutive days from the last witnessed spasm. Primary electroclinical outcome denotes cessation of spasms with resolution of hypsarrhythmia. West syndrome should be a defined subset of the syndrome of infantile spasms. An infantile spasms single-spasm variant should be recognized. Ways are suggested of handling subtle spasms in the context of clinical studies. It proposes a standard for reporting modifying and atypical features of hypsarrhythmia, a minimal set of baseline characteristics and outcomes that should be reported in trials of infantile spasms, and suggests a standard definition of relapse. Consensus was not reached on a definition of hypsarrhythmia.

Conclusions: We reached a clear consensus on many aspects of study design for the investigation of infantile spasms, although incomplete consensus was found on how to define EEG criteria.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Consensus Development Conference
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Delphi Technique
  • Electroencephalography / standards
  • Electroencephalography / statistics & numerical data
  • Electronic Mail
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Spasms, Infantile / diagnosis*
  • Terminology as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome