How Common Are Infantile Spasms?

Infantile spasms is a complex and rare disorder that can have very serious consequences. It can lead to death in some babies, and cause intellectual disabilities and developmental problems in others. Even once the seizures are gone, the damaging brain effects can remain.

How do I know if my baby has infantile spasms?

Symptoms of Infantile Spasms (IS)

Stiffen their legs or “tuck them into the belly,” as if having stomach pain. Suddenly bend at the waist. Drop or bob their heads briefly. Roll their eyes back suddenly with subtle head nodding.

Do infantile spasms happen daily?

Very occasionally, only one spasm will occur at a time. In between clusters of spasms many hours without spasms can occur. Occasionally more than a day will pass without a cluster of spasms. Clusters of spasms often occur after waking from sleep, whatever time of the day.

Are infantile spasms curable?

Many children with infantile spasms develop other kinds of epilepsy. (Watch examples of infantile spasms.) “Some of these children can be cured, but successful treatment often depends on prompt diagnosis,” said Hussain.

Can you stop infantile spasms?

There is no treatment to stop a cluster of infantile spasms after it has started. During a cluster, you can hold your baby or place them on a soft surface (Picture 1). Also, if possible, you should: Take a video of the cluster for the doctor to see.

Why do babies get infantile spasms?

Infantile spasms (also called West syndrome) can be caused by problems with the way the brain developed in the womb, infections, brain injury, or abnormal blood vessels in the brain (such as an arteriovenous malformations). Infantile spasms also can happen in babies with some types of metabolic and genetic disorders.

What can be mistaken for infantile spasms?

Infantile spasms are caused by a condition in a baby’s brain and include repetitive, but often subtle movements—such as jerking of the mid-section, dropping of the head, raising of the arms or wide-eyed blinks. IS can be misdiagnosed as colic, reflux, or a startle reflex.

Is infantile spasms genetic?

Infantile spams is genetically heterogeneous; variants in the majority of genes account for only a small number of cases. De novo variants in TBL1XR1 and KIF1A can cause infantile spasms. Larger cohorts or the use of online tools to connect researchers are needed to identify additional genetic causes of IS.

Do infantile spasms show up on EEG?

Infantile spasms are a very specific type of seizure with a characteristic age of onset (a typical age when seizures start). They are nearly always accompanied by a very characteristic pattern on the electroencephalogram (EEG). This pattern is called ‘hypsarrhythmia’.

When should I worry about baby twitching?

When To Worry About Baby Twitching in Sleep

A key indicator of a true seizure is abnormal eye movement along with body movements. If you see these scary symptoms—or if your baby has trouble breathing, turns blue, or the seizure lasts longer than five minutes—immediately go to the ER.

Is it normal for babies to have jerky movements?

Newborns often have jittery or jerky movements. These are normal and gradually disappear over the first few weeks. Their arms and fingers sometimes make smooth and graceful movements. Your baby may become fussy toward the end of the day.

Do infantile spasms cause mental retardation?

Infantile spasms (IS), i.e., West syndrome, as an epileptic encephalopathy, represents one of the major causes of acquired mental retardation in early childhood (Roger and Dulac, 1994).

Do babies grow out of infantile spasms?

Almost all infantile spasms start by 12 months of age and usually stop by 4 years old. Steroids, ACTH and vigabatrin are the primary treatments. Most children have developmental disabilities later in life. Other types of seizures and epilepsy may be seen over time in many children.

Are infantile spasms generalized seizures?

Not many years ago, infantile spasms was considered to be a generalized seizure disorder, and thus not surgically remediable.

What kind of seizure is infantile spasms?

Infantile spasms often look like a sudden, brief stiffening of a baby’s muscles. Symptoms may include: a cluster of spasms that may be associated with waking from sleep. jackknife seizures, where the body bends forward, the knees are pulled up, and the arms are thrown out to the side.

What happens if you don’t treat infantile spasms?

If not treated, the disorder can permanently harm development. The main treatments include hormonal therapy and vigabatrin, an anti-seizure medicine. Infantile spasms may occur in children without prior medical problems. However, most children get infantile spasms after the diagnosis of another brain disorder.

What type of seizure is infantile spasms?

Infantile spasms usually … An epileptic spasm is a specific type of seizure seen in an epilepsy syndrome of infancy and childhood often called West Syndrome. These are more commonly called infantile spasms (IS) since they are seen most often in the first year of life.

Can infantile spasms go away on their own?

The sooner your little one starts treatment for infantile spasms or West syndrome, the better, because this condition can affect how their mind and body develop. In some cases, the seizures and spasms will stop on their own, but most children will need treatment.

Is it normal for babies to twitch while awake?

If the twitching stops immediately upon waking, it’s likely harmless myoclonic twitches. They won’t continue when the baby isn’t asleep. If your baby is experiencing twitching movements or stiffening when awake, you may be dealing with a seizure issue such as: Infantile spasms.

Is infantile spasms the same as West syndrome?

Infantile spasms (IS) are a type of seizure that is linked to an epileptic condition known as West syndrome. West syndrome affects infants and children. Infantile spasms are linked to mental delays.

Should I take my baby to the ER for infantile spasms?

Infantile spasms should be considered a medical emergency due to the potentially devastating consequences on the developing brain, Dr. Mary Zupanc, chair of neurology at CHOC, says. Immediate treatment is critical because many children with infantile spasms go on to develop other forms of epilepsy.

Can MRI detect infantile spasms?

Despite the heterogeneous nature of causes of infantile spasms, a careful diagnostic evaluation can lead to diagnosis in many patients and may guide treatment choices. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain remains the highest yield initial study in determining the etiology in infantile spasms.

Can infantile spasms happen in sleep?

The spasms typically occur in clusters, with each cluster lasting a couple of minutes, and many clusters occurring each day. They do not usually occur during sleep, but often occur on arousal from sleep.

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