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Symptomatology of infantile spasms

      Abstract

      Epileptic spasms in West syndrome consist of a brief phasic contraction followed by a gradually relaxing tonic component, associated with typical ictal electroencephalographic (EEG) patterns. Three different EEG patterns are associated with a clinical spasm: fast wave bursts, high voltage slow waves (HVS), and desynchronization, occurring in this order. HVS are consistently seen and correspond to a clinical spasm, but usually preceded by fast wave bursts, which may be associated with an inhibition of muscle activity. Epileptic spasms can be classified into: symmetric spasms, asymmetric/asynchronous spasms, focal spasms, spasms with partial seizures, subtle spasms, spasms preceded by brief atonia, or subclinical spasms. Although clinical spasms are usually symmetric, ictal fast waves are always localized, and the following slow waves are not bilaterally synchronous and generalized, suggesting a focal cortical origin of spasms.

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