Electroclinical signs of benign neonatal familial convulsions



Benign neonatal familial convulsions comprise a distinct epileptic syndrome with a autosomal mode of transmission. The electroclinical signs of seizures in this syndrome are not yet well defined. In 3 children from two families presenting with benign neonatal familial convulsions, 14 seizures were recorded during electroencephalographic (EEG)-video sessions. All seizures occurred during sleep, after a short arousal reaction. Seizures started with bilateral, symmetrical flattening of the EEG for 5 to 19 seconds; simulataneously there was apnea and tonic motor activity. The EEG flattening was followed by a long (1–2-minute) bilateral discharge of spikes and sharp waves; simultaneously, there were vocalizations, chewing, and focal or generalized clonic activity. The prominence of EEG and motor abnormalities varied between the left and the right from one seizure to the next in any given child. The seizures stopped without EEG or clinical postictal depression. These electroclinical observations suggest that the convulsions of benign neonatal familial convulsions are a form of generalized tonic-clonic seizure whose expression may be asymmetrical, probably because of the immaturity of the corpus callosum or other structures ensuring seizure synchronization.