Long-term prognosis in two forms of childhood epilepsy: Typical absence seizures and epilepsy with rolandic (centrotemporal) EEG foci



Findings in children seen between 1955 and 1965 during the year of onset of typical absence seizures (90 patients) or rolandic epilepsy (79 patients) were analyzed by actuarial methods. One hundred and eighteen patients were followed for more than 15 years. Rolandic epilepsy is a true benign epilepsy ending with puberty. Although school and family problems are common during the acute stage of the disease, the social adaptability of such patients is excellent. We considered only typical absences occurring as a first epileptic sign in normal children. Myoclonic or atonic absences have a poor prognosis. Many patients with simple and automatic absences experience remission 15 years after withdrawal of medication. The overall cessation rate in those experiencing absences was only 57.5%, however, and 36% of patients developed tonic-clonic seizures. Social adaptability was often inadequate. Simple and automatic absences (constituting a homogeneous group) are not truly a benign form of epilepsy, even though prognosis for those afflicated is better than that for those with other forms of primary generalized epilepsy.