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Hemiconvulsion-hemiplegia-epilepsy syndrome: current understandings

, : Hemiconvulsion-hemiplegia-epilepsy syndrome: current understandings. European Journal of Paediatric Neurology 16(5): 413-421

Hemiconvulsion-Hemiplegia (HH) syndrome is an uncommon consequence of prolonged focal febrile convulsive seizures in infancy and early childhood. It is characterized by the occurrence of prolonged clonic seizures with unilateral predominance occurring in a child and followed by the development of hemiplegia. Neuroradiological studies showed unilateral edematous swelling of the epileptic hemisphere at the time of initial status epilepticus (SE). This acute phase is followed by characteristic cerebral hemiatrophy with subsequent appearance of epilepsy, so called Hemiconvulsion-Hemiplegia-Epilepsy (HHE) syndrome. The etiologies and the underlying mechanisms remain to be understood. Using a review of the literature, we summarized the data of the last 20 years. It appears that idiopathic HH/HHE syndrome is the most common reported form. The basic science data suggest that immature brain is relatively resistant to SE-induced cell injury. Several factors might contribute to the pathogenesis of HH/HHE syndrome: 1. prolonged febrile seizure in which inflammation may worsen the level of cell injury; 2. inflammation and prolonged ictal activity that act on blood-brain-barrier permeability; 3. predisposing factors facilitating prolonged seizure such as genetic factors or focal epileptogenic lesion. However, these factors cannot explain the elective involvement of an entire hemisphere. We draw new hypothesis that may explain the involvement of one hemisphere such as maturation of brain structure such as corpus callosum or genetic factors (CACNA1A gene) that are specifically discussed. An early diagnosis and a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of HHE are needed to improve the outcome of this condition.


PMID: 22341151

DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpn.2012.01.007

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