Common pediatric epilepsy syndromes

Pediatr Ann. 2015 Feb;44(2):e30-5. doi: 10.3928/00904481-20150203-09.


Benign rolandic epilepsy (BRE), childhood idiopathic occipital epilepsy (CIOE), childhood absence epilepsy (CAE), and juvenile myoclonic epilepsy (JME) are some of the common epilepsy syndromes in the pediatric age group. Among the four, BRE is the most commonly encountered. BRE remits by age 16 years with many children requiring no treatment. Seizures in CAE also remit at the rate of approximately 80%; whereas, JME is considered a lifelong condition even with the use of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs). Neonates and infants may also present with seizures that are self-limited with no associated psychomotor disturbances. Benign familial neonatal convulsions caused by a channelopathy, and inherited in an autosomal dominant manner, have a favorable outcome with spontaneous resolution. Benign idiopathic neonatal seizures, also referred to as "fifth-day fits," are an example of another epilepsy syndrome in infants that carries a good prognosis. BRE, CIOE, benign familial neonatal convulsions, benign idiopathic neonatal seizures, and benign myoclonic epilepsy in infancy are characterized as "benign" idiopathic age-related epilepsies as they have favorable implications, no structural brain abnormality, are sensitive to AEDs, have a high remission rate, and have no associated psychomotor disturbances. However, sometimes selected patients may have associated comorbidities such as cognitive and language delay for which the term "benign" may not be appropriate.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Epilepsy / classification*
  • Epilepsy / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn