- Who Gets It?
- Signs & Symptoms
- Prognosis & Life Expectancy
- Other Names
Who gets West syndrome?
West Syndrome is an age related disease in infants. Symptoms of the syndrome appear between 3 and 12 months of age, usually occurring at the fifth month.
What are the signs and symptoms of West syndrome?
The following conditions are symptoms of West syndrome:
What causes West syndrome?
Any type of brain damage can cause West syndrome, for example:
- Severe brain injury at birth
- Brain malformations
- Metabolic disease
- Chromosome abnormalities
- Tuberous sclerosis (a genetic condition)
Cryptogenic West syndrome is the term used when the cause of the syndrome cannot be identified.
Is there a test to diagnose West syndrome?
The diagnosis is made if the infant or child has at least two of the three symptoms of
- mental retardation, or
- infantile seizures.
What is the treatment for West syndrome? Is there a cure?
- Since there are so many potential causes of West syndrome, treatment is based on the cause.
- There is no cure for West syndrome, so unfortunately, the only treatment is to reduce symptoms.
- West syndrome treatments usually include a course of prednisolone and/or an anti-epileptic medication.
- In a few individuals, surgery in the brain may help reduce symptoms.
What is the prognosis and life expectancy for West syndrome?
- Due to the various causes of West syndrome, each individual will have a somewhat different prognosis. However, children that can become free of attacks with appropriate medication (about 50% of all individuals with West syndrome) have a fair prognosis.
- Individuals that do not have EEG abnormalities and show early response to treatment have a better prognosis. Unfortunately, up to about 90% of all children with West syndrome still suffer severe cognitive and physical impairments.
- Life expectancy for West syndrome is variable. About five in every 100 infants and children with West syndrome do not survive beyond five years of age. A study of 214 Finnish children over 25 years of age showed about 61% dying at or before age 10 years.
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Glauser, Tracy A., MD. Infantile Spasm (West Syndrome). Medscape. Updated: Oct 16, 2014.
NORD. West Syndrome. Updated 2015.
Syndrome. West Syndrome.