Epidemiologic features of infantile spasms in Iceland

Epilepsia. Jul-Aug 1994;35(4):802-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1157.1994.tb02514.x.


We determined the average annual incidence of epilepsy characterized by infantile spasms (IS) in Iceland based on the 13 cases identified in a 10-year interval (1981-1990). The cumulative incidence was 3 in 10,000 live births. Males were more frequently affected than females. All patients responded completely (10) or partially (3) to ACTH or steroid therapy. At follow-up, all children with cryptogenic IS are seizure-free and have developed normally intellectually. One of the children with cryptogenic IS has mild spastic diplegia. All children in the symptomatic group are mentally retarded, and 5 of 7 continue to have unprovoked seizures. We detected no evidence for familial aggregation, and the incidence of seizures or epilepsy did not appear to be increased in first-degree relatives of cases. The proportion of cases with a favorable outcome was greater than that reported in most clinical series.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Epilepsy / drug therapy
  • Epilepsy / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Iceland / epidemiology
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Prednisolone / therapeutic use
  • Sex Factors
  • Spasms, Infantile / drug therapy
  • Spasms, Infantile / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
  • Prednisolone