Prognosis of benign childhood epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes: a follow-up study of 168 patients

Epilepsia. May-Jun 1988;29(3):229-35. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1157.1988.tb03711.x.


A spontaneous and complete recovery of benign childhood epilepsy with centrotemporal or rolandic spikes (BECT) is taken for granted. However, some authors have reported the occurrence of generalized tonic-clonic seizures in a few adult patients and in some children who have seizures after a long period without problems. The aims of this study were (a) to search for early predictors of outcome and (b) to ascertain the long-term prognosis of BECT in a large group of patients. An attempt to relocate 268 patients born between 1941 and 1967 and consecutively seen as outpatients was undertaken. The outcome after age 20 is known for only 168. Being adults and cured, the others are no longer in touch with their clinics or have moved. Only one indicator of short-term prognosis was found: The earlier the onset of BECT, the longer the period with seizures. Of the 168 patients, 165 are seizure-free with follow-up ranging from 7 to 30 years. Three patients experienced generalized tonic-clonic seizures at age 18, 22-24, and 35. Two apparently had an isolated seizure. The occurrence of such seizures after recovery from BECT is a rare event (approximately 2% of cases) and a relapse with partial seizures is quite uncommon. These patients do not differ from patients remaining seizure-free.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Epilepsy / classification
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Temporal Lobe / physiopathology*
  • Time Factors