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Original Article

Sudan J Paed. 2018; 18(1): 57-62

Clinical characteristics and aetiology of early childhood epilepsy: a single centre experience in Saudi Arabia

Noufa Alonazi, Abdulrahman Alnemri, Ebtessam El Melegy, Noon Mohamed, Iman Talaat, Amany Hosny, Sarar Mohamed.


Seizures in children and neonatal period have variety of causes; however, most of childhood seizures are idiopathic. The aim of this study was to review the causes of epilepsy in children presenting in the first 2 years of life using the International League Against Epilepsy classification released in 2010. This was a retrospective chart review study that was conducted at a tertiary center in Saudi Arabia. Two hundred and twenty-one patients were included in the study, 31 with conditions mimic epilepsy were excluded. The remaining 190 patients were classified into: Group A, structural/metabolic, 82 (43%); Group B, genetic, 24 (13%) and Group C, unknown, 84 (44%). The commonest seizures’ type was tonic–clonic in 106 (56%), followed by clonic 29 (15.3%), myoclonic 22 (11.6%) and a tonic 16 (8.4%). Pyramidal signs, global developmental delay, hypotonia, micro/macrocephaly and abnormal computed tomography and/or magnetic resonance imaging brain were more common in the structural/metabolic group (p < 0.05). Electroencephalography was abnormal in 136 (72%) patients, mostly in the structural/metabolic group (p = 0.011). In conclusion, the aetiology of epilepsy in this cohort was mainly unknown or secondary to structural/metabolic causes.

Key words: Childhood; Epilepsy; Aetiology; Saudi Arabia; Seizures.

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