Lennox–Gastaut syndrome

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Lennox–Gastaut syndrome
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Lennox–Gastaut syndrome (LGS) is a childhood-onset epilepsy that most often appears between the second and sixth year of life. LGS is characterized by a triad of signs including frequent seizures of multiple types, an abnormal EEG pattern of less than 2.5 Hz slow spike wave activity,[1] and moderate to severe intellectual impairment.[2]

Signs and symptoms[edit]

The peak age of onset of seizures is typically between 3 and 5 years of age, though onset can occur at an earlier or later age.[3] Infantile spasms precede LGS in about 30% of cases[4], although figures as high as 54% have been reported [5].

Daily seizures of multiple types are typical in LGS. Also typical is the broad range of seizures that can occur, larger than that of any other epileptic syndrome. The most frequently occurring seizure type is tonic seizures, which are often nocturnal (90%); the second most frequent are myoclonic seizures, which often occur when the person is over-tired.[6]

Atonic, atypical absence, tonic, complex partial, focalized and tonic–clonic seizures are also common. Additionally, about half of patients will have status epilepticus, usually the nonconvulsive type, which is characterized by dizziness, apathy, and unresponsiveness. The seizures can cause sudden falling (or spasms in tonic, atonic and myoclonic episodes) and/or loss of balance, which is why patients often wear a helmet to prevent head injury.

In addition to daily multiple seizures of various types, children with LGS frequently have arrested/slowed psycho-motor development and behavior disorders.

The syndrome is also characterized by an interictal (between-seizures) EEG featuring slow spike-wave complexes.


There is no uniform cause: in 20% of those affected, the LGS develops from West syndrome.[7] The medical history frequently includes infantile spasms or focal and generalized seizures.

The most common type of LGS (70–78%) is symptomatic (secondary)—that is an identifiable underlying pathology is responsible.[8] This includes encephalopathy (brain damage) or another disease and/or developmental disorder. Frequent causes include tuberous sclerosis, hereditary metabolic diseases, inflammatory brain disease such as encephalitis, meningitis, and toxoplasmosis; hypoxiaischemia injury and other birth injuries; and lesions of the frontal lobe. These patients tend to have a worse prognosis than those with idiopathic (unknown cause) LGS.[7]

Progress in genome and exome sequencing is revealing that some individuals diagnosed with Lennox Gastaut Syndrome have de novo mutations in a variety of genes, including CHD2, GABRB3, ALG13 and SCN2A[9][10] The Epi4K study consortium (2013) observed de novo mutations in at least 15% of a study cohort of 165 patients with LGS and infantile spasms using whole exome sequencing.[11] A 2013 study by Lund and colleagues found a high frequency of rare copy-number variation (CNV's) in adult patients with LGS or LGS-like epilepsy[12]

In up to one-third of cases no cause can be found.[7]

Lennox–Gastaut syndrome and drug resistant/drug refractory epilepsy have been recorded with neurovisceral porphyrias including acute intermittent porphyria, hereditary coproporphyria and variegate porphyria. Care must be taken to avoid porphyrinogenic anti-seizure drugs in these cases. Diagnosis may be difficult in children who require enzyme or DNA testing.


The diagnosis or suspicion of LGS is often a question of probability rather than certainty. This is because the varied presentations of LGS share features with other disorders, many of which may be said to have overlapping characteristics.

The diagnosis is more obvious when the epilepsy has frequent and manifold attacks, with the classic pattern on the electro-encephalogram (EEG); the latter is a slowed rhythm with Spike-wave-pattern, or with a multifocal and generalizing Sharp-slow-wave-discharges at 1.5–2.5 Hz. During sleep, frequently, tonic patterns can be seen. But variations of these patterns are known in patients with no diagnosis other than LGS, and they can differ bilaterally, and from time to time, within the same patient.

General medical investigation usually reveals developmental delay and cognitive deficiencies in children with true LGS. These may precede development of seizures, or require up to two years after the seizures begin, in order to become apparent.

Exclusion of organic or structural brain lesions is also important in establishing a correct diagnosis of LGS; this may require magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT). An important differential diagnosis is 'Pseudo-Lennox-Syndrome', which differs from LGS, in that there are no tonic seizures; sleeping EEG provides the best basis for distinguishing between the two.


LGS seizures are often treatment resistant, but this does not mean that treatment is futile. Options include anticonvulsants, anesthetics, steroids such as prednisone, immunoglobulins, and various other pharmacological agents that have been reported to work in individual patients.


No high quality evidence had shown any drug very useful as of 2013.[13] Rufinamide, lamotrigine, topiramate and felbamate may be useful.[13] On 25 June 2018, cannabidiol (Epidiolex) was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, which is also known as severe myoclonic epilepsy of infancy.

First-line drugs[edit]

Second-line drugs[edit]

In 1999, Sachdeo and colleagues at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick reported that 33% of the patients in a group of patients taking topiramate experienced a minimum 50% reduction in seizures (specifically drop attacks and tonic–clonics), compared with 8% in the placebo group.[15] It was also found to be effective as an adjunctive therapy in a review published by Drs. Edith Alva Moncayo and Antonio Ruiz Ruiz in March 2003.[16]

Motte reported in 1997 that lamotrigine was effective in the treatment of LGS, with the most common side effect in the treatment group relative to placebo being colds or viral illnesses.[17] Two years later, it was approved by Health Canada for adjunctive therapy in Lennox–Gastaut in adults and children.[18] The United States Food and Drug Administration approved it for that in August 1998.[19]

Felbamate is indicated in the use of LGS in the event that everything else fails,[20] and was found to be superior to placebo in controlling treatment resistant partial seizures and atonic seizures.[21][22] However, it has been known to cause aplastic anemia and liver toxicity.[23]


Palliative surgery reduces the severity and generalization of seizures to the whole brain, but does not influence the seizures sources.

In eligible symptomatic patients, who can be validated by brain imaging techniques, curative surgery could remove seizures sources. Depending on the source size, surgery will be a resection (removal of small brain areas), disconnection (larger areas) and in some cases hemispherectomy (a full hemisphere disconnection or removal).

In the past, LGS patients were considered de facto as non eligible for epilepsy curative surgery, as scientists were thinking the LGS was a fully generalized epilepsy in all cases. Since around 2010 this assumption has been reviewed and all surgery options, including curative surgery, must be evaluated.[24] Two studies on LGS patients series who underwent curative surgery in Korea[25] and China,[26] showed very good results, up to seizure freedom (Engel class I) for 80% of these patients below 5 years old, and 40% above 5 years old. Nevertheless, like all epilepsy curative surgeries, seizures may recur in the years following surgery, but surgery allows the child to have better brain development during the seizure free period.


Ketogenic diet[edit]

A ketogenic diet is a diet that causes ketosis, a state in which there is an increased amount of ketones in the body. It is becoming increasingly popular for treating intractable epilepsy.

Intravenous immunoglobulin therapy[edit]

Intravenous immunoglobulin therapy has been used in Lennox–Gastaut syndrome as early as 1986, when van Rijckevorsel-Harmant and colleagues used it in seven patients with ostensibly idiopathic LGS and saw EEG improvement and decreased seizure frequency in six of them.[27]


The mortality rate ranges from 3–7% in a mean follow up period of 8.5 to 9.7 years. Death is often related to accidents.[28]


LGS is seen in approximately 4% of children with epilepsy, and is more common in males than in females.[8] Usual onset is between the ages of three and five.[3] Children can have no neurological problems prior diagnosis, or have other forms of epilepsy. West syndrome is diagnosed in 20% of patients before it evolves into LGS at about 2 years old.[7]


According to a 1997 community-based retrospective study in the Helsinki metropolitan area and the province of Uusimaa, the annual incidence of Lennox–Gastaut was 2 in 100,000 (0.002%) from 1975 to 1985.[29]

United States[edit]

0.026% of all children in the Atlanta, Georgia metropolitan area were estimated to have LGS in 1997, which was defined as, "onset of multiple seizure types before age 11 years, with at least one seizure type resulting in falls, and an EEG demonstrating slow spike-wave complexes (<2.5 Hz)." The study concluded that LGS accounts for 4% of childhood epilepsies.[8]


LGS was named for neurologists William G. Lennox (Boston, USA) and Henri Gastaut (Marseille, France)[30].


Caregivers of individuals living with Lennox–Gastaut Syndrome may seek support and information from a variety of resources including the LGS Foundation and the Epilepsy Foundation of America. International LGS Awareness Day is November 1 annually[31].


Vigabatrin was found by Feucht et al. to be an effective add-on in patients whose seizures were not satisfactorily controlled by valproate. Out of 20 children, only 1 experienced a serious side effect (dyskinesia).[32]

Zonisamide showed promise in an overview of controlled and uncontrolled trials conducted in Japan.[33] However, in a physician survey conducted December 2004, only 28% of Lennox–Gastaut and West syndrome patients improved on zonisamide.[34]

One yet to be published study from 2017 supported the use of cannabidiol.[35]

Another article published in the New England Journal of Medicine has also shown a significant reduction of seizures of patients taking 10 and 20 mg/kg a day compared to placebo. [36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Markand, Omkar N. (2003-12-01). "Lennox–Gastaut syndrome (childhood epileptic encephalopathy)". Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology. 20 (6): 426–441. doi:10.1097/00004691-200311000-00005. ISSN 0736-0258. PMID 14734932.
  2. ^ Archer, John S.; Warren, Aaron E. L.; Jackson, Graeme D.; Abbott, David F. (2014-01-01). "Conceptualizing Lennox–Gastaut syndrome as a secondary network epilepsy". Epilepsy. 5: 225. doi:10.3389/fneur.2014.00225. PMC 4214194. PMID 25400619.
  3. ^ a b Bourgeois, Blaise F. D.; Douglass, Laurie M.; Sankar, Raman (2014-09-01). "Lennox–Gastaut syndrome: a consensus approach to differential diagnosis". Epilepsia. 55 Suppl 4: 4–9. doi:10.1111/epi.12567. ISSN 1528-1167. PMID 25284032.
  4. ^ Albert P. Aldenkamp, Fritz E. Dreifuss, W. Renier, T.P.B.M. Suurmeijer, Epilepsy in Children and Adolescents. Pg. 51
  5. ^ Ohtahara S, Yamatogi Y, Ohtsukd Y, Oka E, lshida T. Prognosis of West syndrome with special reference to Lennox syndrome: a developmental study. In: Wada JA, Penry JK, eds. Advunces in epileptology: The Xth Epilepsy International Symposium. New York: Raven Press, 1980: 149-54
  6. ^ "Childhood seizures – epilepsy and convulsions in children". Archived from the original on April 8, 2005. Retrieved August 16, 2005.
  7. ^ a b c d Tyagi, Satyanand; et al. (Jul–Sep 2010). "Pharmacological Management of Lennox–Gastaut Syndrome a Difficult to Treat Form of Childhood-Onset Epilepsy: An Overview" (PDF). International Journal of Pharma and Bio Sciences. 1 (3): 1–6.
  8. ^ a b c Trevathan, E; Murphy, CC; Yeargin-Allsopp, M (1997). "Prevalence and descriptive epidemiology of Lennox–Gastaut syndrome among Atlanta children". Epilepsia. 38 (12): 1283–8. doi:10.1111/j.1528-1157.1997.tb00065.x. PMID 9578523.
  9. ^ Lund C, Brodtkorb E, Øye AM, Røsby O, Selmer KK (2014). "CHD2 mutations in Lennox–Gastaut syndrome". Epilepsy Behav. 33: 18–21. doi:10.1016/j.yebeh.2014.02.005. PMID 24614520.
  10. ^ LCapelli LP, Krepischi AC, Gurgel-Giannetti J, Mendes MF, Rodrigues T, Varela MC, Koiffmann CP, Rosenberg C (2012). "Deletion of the RMGA and CHD2 genes in a child with epilepsy and mental deficiency". Eur J Med Genet. 55 (2): 132–134. doi:10.1016/j.ejmg.2011.10.004. PMID 22178256.
  11. ^ Allen AS, Berkovic SF, Cossette P, et al. (2013-09-12). "De novo mutations in the classic epileptic encephalopathies". Nature. 501 (7466): 217–221. doi:10.1038/nature12439. ISSN 0028-0836. PMC 3773011. PMID 23934111.
  12. ^ Lund, Caroline; Brodtkorb, Eylert; Røsby, Oddveig; Rødningen, Olaug Kristin; Selmer, Kaja Kristine (2013-07-01). "Copy number variants in adult patients with Lennox–Gastaut syndrome features". Epilepsy Research. 105 (1–2): 110–117. doi:10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2013.01.009. ISSN 1872-6844. PMID 23415449.
  13. ^ a b Hancock, EC; Cross, JH (28 February 2013). "Treatment of Lennox–Gastaut syndrome". The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2): CD003277. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD003277.pub3. PMID 23450537.
  14. ^ Hakimian S, Cheng-Hakimian A, Anderson GD, Miller JW (August 2007). "Rufinamide: a new anti-epileptic medication". Expert Opin Pharmacother. 8 (12): 1931–40. doi:10.1517/14656566.8.12.1931. PMID 17696794.
  15. ^ Sachdeo, R. C.; Glauser, TA; Ritter, F; Reife, R; Lim, P; Pledger, G (1999). "A double-blind, randomized trial of topiramate in Lennox–Gastaut syndrome". Neurology. 52 (9): 1882–7. doi:10.1212/wnl.52.9.1882. PMID 10371538.
  16. ^ Alva-Moncayo, E; Ruiz-Ruiz, A (2003). "Utilidad del topiramato como terapia añadida a esquemas convencionales para el síndrome de Lennox–Gastaut" [The value of topiramate used with conventional schemes as an adjunctive therapy in the treatment of Lennox–Gastaut syndrome]. Revista de neurologia (in Spanish). 36 (5): 453–7. PMID 12640599.
  17. ^ Motte, J; Trevathan, E; Arvidsson, JF; Barrera, MN; Mullens, EL; Manasco, P (1997). "Lamotrigine for generalized seizures associated with the Lennox–Gastaut syndrome. Lamictal Lennox–Gastaut Study Group". The New England Journal of Medicine. 337 (25): 1807–12. doi:10.1056/NEJM199712183372504. PMID 9400037.
  18. ^ Epilepsy Ontario (1999). "Lamotrigine Approved in Canada for Lennox–Gastaut Syndrome". 'Sharing' News. Retrieved 13 November 2005.
  19. ^ Glaxo Wellcome Inc (1998). "Final Printed Labeling—Part 1". Lamictal Tablets & Chewable Dispersible Tablets (Lamotrigine) Drug Approval Page. United States Food and Drug Administration Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Archived from the original on April 29, 2005. Retrieved 13 November 2005.
  20. ^ "Felbatol (felbamate)". p. 3. Archived from the original on 2007-11-09. Retrieved 2007-09-19.
  21. ^ The Felbamate Study Group In Lennox–Gastaut Syndrome (1993). "Efficacy of felbamate in childhood epileptic encephalopathy (Lennox-Gastaut syndrome). The Felbamate Study Group in Lennox–Gastaut Syndrome". The New England Journal of Medicine. 328 (1): 29–33. doi:10.1056/NEJM199301073280105. PMID 8347179.
  22. ^ Devinsky, O; Faught, RE; Wilder, BJ; Kanner, AM; Kamin, M; Kramer, LD; Rosenberg, A (1995). "Efficacy of felbamate monotherapy in patients undergoing presurgical evaluation of partial seizures". Epilepsy research. 20 (3): 241–6. doi:10.1016/0920-1211(94)00084-A. PMID 7796796.
  23. ^ O'neil, MG; Perdun, CS; Wilson, MB; Mcgown, ST; Patel, S (1996). "Felbamate-associated fatal acute hepatic necrosis". Neurology. 46 (5): 1457–9. doi:10.1212/wnl.46.5.1457. PMID 8628501.
  24. ^ Douglass, LM (2014). "Surgical options for patients with Lennox–Gastaut syndrome". Epilepsia. doi:10.1111/epi.12742.
  25. ^ Lee, Yun Jin (2010). "Resective pediatric epilepsy surgery in Lennox–Gastaut syndrome". Pediatrics.
  26. ^ Liu, SY (2012). "Surgical treatment of patients with Lennox–Gastaut syndrome phenotype". The Scientific World Journal. 2012: 614263. doi:10.1100/2012/614263. PMC 3353538. PMID 22629163.
  27. ^ Van Rijckevorsel-Harmant, K; Delire, M; Rucquoy-Ponsar, M (1986). "Treatment of idiopathic West and Lennox–Gastaut syndromes by intravenous administration of human polyvalent immunoglobulins". European Archives of Psychiatry and Neurological Sciences. 236 (2): 119–22. doi:10.1007/BF00454021. PMID 3792407.
  28. ^ Glauser, Tracy A.; Morita, Diego A. (2002). "Introduction". Lennox–Gastaut Syndrome. eMedicine.com, Inc. Retrieved 8 July 2005.
  29. ^ Heiskala, H (1997). "Community-based study of Lennox–Gastaut syndrome". Epilepsia. 38 (5): 526–31. doi:10.1111/j.1528-1157.1997.tb01136.x. PMID 9184597.
  30. ^ Dravet, C., & Roger, J. (1996). Henri Gastaut 1915-1995. Epilepsia, 37(4), 410–415. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1528-1157.1996.tb00580.x
  31. ^ www.lgsfoundation.org
  32. ^ Feucht, M; Brantner-Inthaler, S (1994). "Gamma-vinyl-GABA (vigabatrin) in the therapy of Lennox–Gastaut syndrome: an open study". Epilepsia. 35 (5): 993–8. doi:10.1111/j.1528-1157.1994.tb02544.x. PMID 7925171.
  33. ^ Yagi, K (2004). "Overview of Japanese experience-controlled and uncontrolled trials". Seizure : the journal of the British Epilepsy Association. 13 Suppl 1: S11–5, discussion S16. doi:10.1016/j.seizure.2004.04.018. PMID 15511680.
  34. ^ Yamauchi, T; Aikawa, H (2004). "Efficacy of zonisamide: our experience". Seizure : the journal of the British Epilepsy Association. 13 Suppl 1: S41–8, discussion S49. doi:10.1016/j.seizure.2004.04.021. PMID 15511689.
  35. ^ "Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome: Cannabidiol Treatment | Neurology Times". www.neurologytimes.com. 23 April 2017. Retrieved 27 April 2017.

External links[edit]

External resources