Symptomatic and presumed symptomatic focal epilepsies in childhood: An observational, prospective multicentre study

Marilena Vecchi, Carmen Barba, Debora De Carlo, Micol Stivala, Renzo Guerrini, Emilio Albamonte, Domiziana Ranalli, Domenica Battaglia, Giada Lunardi, Clementina Boniver, Benedetta Piccolo, Francesco Pisani, Gaetano Cantalupo, Giuliana Nieddu, Susanna Casellato, Silvia Cappanera, Elisabetta Cesaroni, Nelia Zamponi, Domenico Serino, Lucia FuscoAlessandro Iodice, Filippo Palestra, Lucio Giordano, Elena Freri, Ilaria De Giorgi, Francesca Ragona, Tiziana Granata, Isabella Fiocchi, Stefania Maria Bova, Massimo Mastrangelo, Alberto Verrotti, Sara Matricardi, Elena Fontana, Davide Caputo, Francesca Darra, Bernardo Dalla Bernardina, Francesca Beccaria, Giuseppe Capovilla, Maria Giuseppina Baglietto, Alessandra Gagliardi, Aglaia Vignoli, Maria Paola Canevini, Egle Perissinotto, Stefano Francione

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To describe the clinical, neuropsychological, and psychopathologic features of a cohort of children with a new diagnosis of symptomatic or presumed symptomatic focal epilepsy at time of recruitment and through the first month. The selected population will be followed for 2–5 years after enrollment to investigate the epilepsy course and identify early predictors of drug resistance. Methods: In this observational, multicenter, nationwide study, children (age 1 month–12.9 years) with a new diagnosis of symptomatic or presumed symptomatic focal epilepsy were consecutively enrolled in 15 Italian tertiary childhood epilepsy centers. Inclusion criteria were as follows: (1) diagnosis of symptomatic focal epilepsy due to acquired and developmental etiologies, and presumed symptomatic focal epilepsy; (2) age at diagnosis older than 1 month and <13 years; and (3) written informed consent. Children were subdivided into three groups: ≤3 years, >3 to 6 years, and >6 years. Clinical, electroencephalography (EEG), neuroimaging, and neuropsychological variables were identified for statistical analyses. Results: Two hundred fifty-nine children were enrolled (116 female and 143 male). Median age: 4.4 years (range 1 month–12.9 years); 46.0% (n = 119) of children were younger than 3 years, 24% (61) from 3 to 6 years of age, and 30% (79) older than 6 years. Neurologic examination findings were normal in 71.8%. Brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was abnormal in 59.9%. Children age ≤3 years experienced the highest seizure frequency in the first month after recruitment (p < 0.0001). Monotherapy in the first month was used in 67.2%. Cognitive tests at baseline revealed abnormal scores in 30%; behavioral problems were present in 21%. At multivariate analysis, higher chances to exhibit more than five seizures in the first month after epilepsy onset was confirmed for younger children and those with temporal lobe epilepsy. Significance: In this prospective cohort study, an extensive characterization of epilepsy onset in children with symptomatic or presumed symptomatic focal epilepsies is reported in relation to the age group and the localization of the epileptogenic zone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1808-1816
Number of pages9
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Behavior impairment
  • Childhood epilepsy
  • Cognitive function
  • Focal symptomatic seizures
  • Intractable epilepsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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