Early clinical and EEG findings associated with the outcome in childhood absence epilepsy

L. Canafoglia, Maria Sabina Dettori, D. Duran, Francesca Ragona, E. Freri, Susanna Casellato, Tiziana Granata, Silvana Franceschetti, Ferruccio Panzica

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: The objective of this study was to investigate several clinical electroencephalogram (EEG) findings possibly predicting the early response to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) and the late outcome in children with clinical EEG features fitting the syndromic diagnosis of childhood absence epilepsy (CAE). Methods: In 117 untreated patients with typical absences, we analyzed clinical EEG features, and resting EEG activity using partial directed coherence to calculate out- and inflow of cortical oscillations in different regions of interest. Results: Absences began before 4 years in 12.0%, at 4–9.5 years in 71.8%, and at 10–13 years in 16.2% of the cases. Valproate was started in 91 patients and ethosuximide in 27. With one of AEDs, 77.8% reached seizure control, while the remaining patients needed to switch to the alternative AED. Only 5.9% patients remained drug-resistant. Absences with simple automatisms were the only feature associated with a lack of response to the first AED. Connectivity analysis of resting EEGs showed increased frontal outflow in patients compared with controls, which was significantly greater in the nonresponders to the first AED than in responders. Among the 91 patients followed for 61.2 ± 31.7 months, 14.2% relapsed after a seizure-free period, without differences between the responders to the first or second AED. Conclusions: The assessment of electroclinical features provided only minimal prognostic indices. The enhanced outflow of frontal oscillations suggests a circuitry dysfunction significantly greater in the nonresponder to the early treatment. Seizure relapses were rare and comparable in patients who reached seizure freedom with first or second AED, indicating that the resistance to one AED does not influence the outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-278
Number of pages6
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019


  • AED resistance
  • CAE
  • Connectivity
  • Prognosis
  • Typical absences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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