problems are highly complex and require careful management. Such is the
case with Dravet syndrome, which is a rare form of epilepsy that is first
evident in infancy. Since this particular form of epilepsy is typically
quite severe and difficult to manage, it’s recommended that parents
of children with Dravet syndrome seek the help of a highly skilled neurology team.
Usually, infants with Dravet syndrome will suffer their first seizure d
uring their first year of life. In a child’s early years, febrile
seizures, or seizures related to a fever, may occur. Grand mal febrile
seizures are common. Later,
children typically develop myoclonic seizures within the first five years of life. They may also suffer from other types
of seizures, including partial, atonic, absence, and atypical absence
seizures, along with non-convulsive status epilepticus. Early in the child’s
life, his or her seizures are likely to be prolonged or repetitive. Seizures
can be triggered by a range of factors, including emotional stress, excitement,
changes in body temperature, illnesses, and exposure to flashing lights.
Unfortunately, seizures are not the only problems that individuals with
Dravet syndrome must cope with. Parents of children with Dravet syndrome
may notice that they display cognitive difficulties. In some cases, children
may experience persistent developmental disabilities. Low motor tone,
chronic infections, crouched gait, behavioral problems, growth issues,
and nutritional deficiencies are other possible concerns for these patients.
Although early diagnosis is often challenging, it is also essential for
facilitating the best possible outcome for the child. Unfortunately, Dravet
syndrome does not respond well to anti-seizure medications. A neurology
team may recommend a combination of these drugs. Neurologists might also
recommend the use of a Vagal Nerve Stimulator (VNS), a ketogenic diet,
and developmental assessments.
The multidisciplinary approach to epilepsy treatment at the
Illinois Neurological Institute Comprehensive Epilepsy Center combines surgical, medical, neuropsychological,
and psychosocial options for our patients. At INI, we’re dedicated
to helping individuals with epilepsy in Peoria live life to the fullest
through comprehensive seizure management. Visit us on the Web or call
(309) 740-1517 for information about neurosurgery or other specialty services.