Sturge-Weber syndrome: from the past to the present

Eur J Paediatr Neurol. 2014 May;18(3):257-66. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpn.2013.10.003. Epub 2013 Nov 7.


Sturge-Weber syndrome is a rare sporadic neurocutaneous syndrome the hallmark of which is a facial port-wine stain involving the first division of the trigeminal nerve, ipsilateral leptomeningeal angiomata and angioma involving the ipsilateral eye. Our understanding of the disease process has vastly improved since it was first described in 1879, with recent identification of an activating somatic mutation in the GNAQ gene found in association with both Sturge-Weber syndrome and non-syndromic facial port-wine stain. Sturge-Weber syndrome is marked by a variable but usually progressive course in early childhood characterised by seizures, stroke-like episodes, headaches, neurological and cognitive deterioration, hemiparesis, glaucoma and visual field defects. More recently, the increased prevalance of otolaryngological, endocrine and emotional-behavioural issues have been established. Neurophysiology and neuroimaging studies provide information regarding the evolution of changes in Sturge-Weber syndrome over time. Early recognition and aggressive management of symptoms remains cornerstone in the management of this syndrome. An international collaborative effort is needed to maximise our understanding of the natural history and response to interventions in Sturge-Weber Syndrome.

Keywords: Aspirin; Epilepsy; Headaches; Leptomeningeal angioma; Port-wine stain; Stroke-like episodes; Sturge–Weber syndrome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Headache / etiology
  • Headache / pathology
  • Humans
  • Neurocutaneous Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Neurocutaneous Syndromes / pathology
  • Port-Wine Stain / diagnosis
  • Port-Wine Stain / pathology*
  • Port-Wine Stain / therapy
  • Seizures / diagnosis
  • Seizures / pathology*
  • Seizures / therapy
  • Sturge-Weber Syndrome / pathology*
  • Sturge-Weber Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Sturge-Weber Syndrome / therapy