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Keywords:

  • mitochondrial disorder;
  • epilepsy;
  • seizure;
  • electroencephalography;
  • central nervous system involvement;
  • antiepileptic drugs

Few data are available about the difference between epilepsy in pediatric mitochondrial disorders (MIDs) and adult MIDs. This review focuses on the differences between pediatric and adult mitochondrial epilepsy with regard to seizure type, seizure frequency, and underlying MID. A literature search via Pubmed using the keywords ‘mitochondrial’, ‘epilepsy’, ‘seizures’, ‘adult’, ‘pediatric’, and all MID acronyms, was carried out. Frequency of mitochondrial epilepsy strongly depends on the type of MID included and is higher in pediatric compared to adult patients. In pediatric patients, mitochondrial epilepsy is more frequent due to mutations in nDNA-located than mtDNA-located genes and vice versa in adults. In pediatric patients, mitochondrial epilepsy is associated with a syndromic phenotype in half of the patients and in adults more frequently with a non-syndromic phenotype. In pediatric patients, focal seizures are more frequent than generalized seizures and vice versa in adults. Electro-clinical syndromes are more frequent in pediatric MIDs compared to adult MIDs. Differences between pediatric and adult mitochondrial epilepsy concern the onset of epilepsy, frequency of epilepsy, seizure type, type of electro-clinical syndrome, frequency of syndromic versus non-syndromic MIDs, and the outcome. To optimize management of mitochondrial epilepsy, it is essential to differentiate between early and late-onset forms.