Guidelines for imaging infants and children with recent-onset epilepsy

Epilepsia. 2009 Sep;50(9):2147-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2009.02075.x. Epub 2009 Apr 6.


The International League Against Epilepsy (ILAE) Subcommittee for Pediatric Neuroimaging examined the usefulness of, and indications for, neuroimaging in the evaluation of children with newly diagnosed epilepsy. The retrospective and prospective published series with n > or = 30 utilizing computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (1.5 T) that evaluated children with new-onset seizure(s) were reviewed. Nearly 50% of individual imaging studies in children with localization-related new-onset seizure(s) were reported to be abnormal; 15-20% of imaging studies provided useful information on etiology or and seizure focus, and 2-4% provided information that potentially altered immediate medical management. A significant imaging abnormality in the absence of a history of a localization-related seizure, abnormal neurologic examination, or focal electroencephalography (EEG) is rare. Imaging studies in childhood absence epilepsy, juvenile absence epilepsy, juvenile myoclonic epilepsy, and benign childhood epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes (BECTS) do not identify significant structural abnormalities. Imaging provides important contributions to establishing etiology, providing prognostic information, and directing treatment in children with recently diagnosed epilepsy. Imaging is recommended when localization-related epilepsy is known or suspected, when the epilepsy classification is in doubt, or when an epilepsy syndrome with remote symptomatic cause is suspected. When available, MRI is preferred to CT because of its superior resolution, versatility, and lack of radiation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Practice Guideline
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Child
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods
  • Diagnostic Imaging / standards*
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Electroencephalography / standards
  • Epilepsies, Partial / diagnosis
  • Epilepsy / diagnosis*
  • Epilepsy / diagnostic imaging
  • Epilepsy, Rolandic / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / standards
  • Male
  • Neurologic Examination
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic / standards*
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Seizures / diagnosis
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed