The Risk of Lower Mental Outcome in Infantile Spasms Increases after Three Weeks of Hypsarrhythmia Duration


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Zvonka Rener-Primec at Department of Child Neurology, University Children's Hospital, Vrazov trg 1, 1525 Ljubljana, Slovenia. E-mail:


Summary:  To assess the correlation between hypsarrhythmia duration and mental outcome in infantile spasms (IS) the medical records of 48 infants with IS were reviewed retrospectively and psychological assessments undertaken at follow-up at the age of 3 to 13 years. We found 18 (38%) cryptogenic IS cases with typical hypsarrhythmia and 30 symptomatic with modified hypsarrhythmia—further classified into 15 cases as multifocal, 10 as pseudoperiodic and 5 as unilateral hypsarrhythmia. A short treatment lag (one to two weeks) occurred in 25, three to four weeks in 10 cases. Spasms ceased within one month after treatment in 23 infants. At follow-up 15 children had normal mental outcome (borderline included). A correlation between hypsarrhythmia duration longer than three weeks and lower mental outcome was found using the logistic regression model. The duration of hypsarrhythmia represents a sensitive prognostic parameter in IS; the risk of mental retardation increases after three weeks of hypsarrhythmia.