Original article| Volume 23, ISSUE 7, P558-564, November 2001

Clinical and pedigree study on familial cases of West syndrome in Japan


      Nationwide survey on familial cases of West syndrome (WS) in first- and second-degree relatives was conducted by mailing a questionnaire to 64 major university hospitals, children's hospitals, and epilepsy centers in Japan, and by review of the Japanese cases in the literatures. Thirty-four familial cases, 20 males and 14 females, were obtained in 15 families including one with five affected members in two generations and another with three affected male siblings including a half brother by a different father (X-linked WS). A mother and the child or children were involved in three families. Nine families had 21 cryptogenic cases and six families had 13 symptomatic cases, and the etiologies were same among the affected members in each family. Familial cases of WS have characteristic clinical features and genetic mechanisms. Age of onset, seizure types, electroencephalographic abnormalities, early seizure outcome, effective treatment, long-term seizure prognosis, and long-term developmental prognosis were concordant among the affected members in each family. Long-term seizure and developmental prognoses were far better than those in WS in general, with seizure-free rate of 82% and normal mental development rate of 44%. Poor prognosis was limited to specific symptomatic cases. Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) was a treatment of choice, and even in relapse of WS after ACTH therapy, the patients well responded to antiepileptic drugs. Specific inheritance pattern was difficult to imagine in the majority of the present cases, except for one family with X-linked WS and another family with five patients of maternal inheritance. These results are helpful for the treatment choice and prognostication of clinical course for familial cases of WS.


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