Hypsarrhythmia: variations on the theme

Epilepsia. 1984 Jun;25(3):317-25. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1157.1984.tb04195.x.


Prolonged monitoring studies of patients with infantile spasms have shown that hypsarrhythmia is a highly variable and dynamic electroencephalographic pattern. Variations of the prototypic pattern (modified hypsarrhythmia) include hypsarrhythmia with increased interhemispheric synchronization, asymmetrical hypsarrhythmia, hypsarrhythmia with a consistent focus of abnormal discharge, hypsarrhythmia with episodes of attenuation, and hypsarrhythmia comprising primarily high-voltage slow activity with little sharp-wave or spike activity. Marked changes in the hypsarrhythmic pattern usually occur during sleep, chiefly during rapid eye movement sleep, when there is a marked reduction in, or total disappearance of, the hypsarrhythmic pattern. Relative normalization of the hypsarrhythmic pattern can also be seen immediately on arousal and during clusters of infantile spasms. Thus, the specific EEG features seen in a given patient depend on multiple factors, including the duration of the EEG recording, the clinical state of the patient, and the presence of various structural abnormalities of the brain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arousal
  • Child, Preschool
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Spasms, Infantile / physiopathology*