Sturge-Weber syndrome: study of 55 patients

Can J Neurol Sci. 2008 Jul;35(3):301-7. doi: 10.1017/s0317167100008878.

Abstract

Purpose: To review the clinical and neuroimaging features of a large series of patients with Sturge-Weber syndrome (SWS) seen over a 40-year period.

Methods: Fifty-five patients with SWS (30 males and 25 females), were studied between 1965 and 2004. Results of neurological and ophthalmological examinations, electroencephalographic, and neuroimaging studies were reviewed. All patients were seen by one of the authors (I. P-C).

Results: Epilepsy, hemiparesis, mental retardation and ocular problems were the most frequent and severe features of patients with Sturge-Weber syndrome in this series. The facial nevus flammeus was unilateral in 35 (63.5%) patients, bilateral in 17 (31%) and absent in 3 (5.5%) of the patients with leptomeningeal angiomas. Seven (41%) of the 17 patients with bilateral nevus flammeus had unilateral leptomeningeal angiomas. Seizures occurred in 47 patients (85.5%). Complete seizure control was obtained in 20 patients (42.5%), but in 2 of these 20 patients seizures were controlled only after lobectomy. All patients with unilateral or bilateral upper eyelid nevus flammeus had ipsilateral, unilateral or bilateral choroid-retinal angiomas. Only 20 (36%) of the 55 patients had low-normal or borderline intelligence (IQs < 70). No relationship was observed between the size of the facial nevus flammeus and the severity of the brain lesion.

Conclusions: Epilepsy, hemiparesis, mental retardation and ocular problems were the most frequent and severe features of patients with Sturge-Weber syndrome in this series. Cerebral lesions followed a progressive course during early childhood, but not later. Early surgical treatment controlled the seizures but other neurological problems such as hemiparesis and intellectual deficits showed a less satisfactory response. Early onset of seizures and poor response to medical treatment, bilateral cerebral involvement and unilateral severe lesions were indicative of a poor prognosis. Limited intelligence and social skills, poor aesthetic appearance and seizures complicated the integration of SWS patients. These features must be addressed in order for the patients improve social interactions, obtain gainful employment and achieve a better quality of life.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Epilepsy / complications*
  • Eye Diseases / complications*
  • Face / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Intellectual Disability / complications*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Meningeal Neoplasms / complications
  • Middle Aged
  • Paresis / complications*
  • Port-Wine Stain / complications
  • Quality of Life
  • Sturge-Weber Syndrome / complications*
  • Sturge-Weber Syndrome / pathology
  • Sturge-Weber Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Trigeminal Nerve / physiopathology