Value of magnetic resonance imaging in West syndrome of unknown etiology

Epilepsia. Jul-Aug 1993;34(4):701-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1157.1993.tb00449.x.


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies of 46 patients with West syndrome (WS) of unknown etiology were reviewed retrospectively. The criteria for cryptogenic WS were met by 25 and 21 were considered symptomatic because other types of seizure or psychomotor retardation were apparent before spasm onset. Computed tomographic (CT) scans were normal in 38 patients and showed diffuse atrophy in eight symptomatic patients. In five patients, MRI was more informative than CT, demonstrating one case of delayed myelination and four cases of focal lesion. The focal lesion in 2 of these patients was similar on MRI consisting of poor gray-white matter demarcation in the parieto-occipitotemporal region. Surgical resection was performed in one because of intractable seizures, and neuropathological examination revealed cortical dysplasia. The remaining two cases with focal lesion had increased signal intensity on T2-weighted images in the posterior frontal cortex and in the temporal lobe, respectively. Our data indicate that MRI is useful in some cases of WS, especially in demonstrating focal corticosubcortical lesions not visible on CT scan.

MeSH terms

  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Spasms, Infantile / diagnosis*
  • Spasms, Infantile / diagnostic imaging
  • Spasms, Infantile / pathology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed