Objective: To unveil current medical and psychosocial conditions of patients with West syndrome in Japan.
Methods: A cross-sectional analysis was performed in patients with West syndrome registered in the Rare Epilepsy Syndrome Registry (RES-R) of Japan. Furthermore, new-onset patients registered in the RES-R were observed prospectively and their outcomes after one and two years of follow-up were compared with data at onset.
Results: For the cross-sectional study, 303 patients with West syndrome were included. Seizures (such as spasms, tonic seizures and focal seizures) occurred daily in 69.3% of the patients at registration. Seizure frequency of less than one per year was observed in cases of unknown etiology (22.6%), genetic etiology (23.8%) and malformation of cortical development (MCD; 19.1%). Neurological findings were absent in 37.0%, but a high rate of abnormality was seen in patients with Aicardi syndrome, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), genetic etiology and MCD other than focal cortical dysplasia, accompanied by a >50% rate of bedridden patients. Abnormal EEG was found in 96.7%, and CT/MRI was abnormal in 62.7%. Treatments included antiepileptic drug therapy (94.3%), hormonal therapy (72.6%), diet therapy (8.3%) and surgery (15.8%). Intellectual/developmental delay was present in 88.4%, and was more severe in patients with Aicardi syndrome, genetic etiology and HIE. Autism spectrum disorder was found in 13.5%. For the longitudinal study, 27 new-onset West syndrome patients were included. The follow-up study revealed improved seizure status after two years in 66.7%, but worsened developmental status in 55.6%, with overall improvement in 51.9%.
Significance: The study reveals the challenging neurological, physical and developmental aspects, as well as intractable seizures, in patients with West syndrome. More than a half of the children showed developmental delay after onset, even though seizures were reduced during the course of the disease.
Keywords: West syndrome; cross-sectional study; epileptic spasms ;infantile spasms; longitudinal study ;outcomes; rare epilepsy syndrome registry.