Abnormalities of muscle tone, movement, and motor skills are the hallmark of cerebral palsy (CP) which results from injury to the developing brain. Clinically, the syndrome evolves over time and may only be apparent after 3–5 years of age, although suggestive signs and symptoms may be present at an earlier age. Epilepsy is common in CP and occurs in about 30% of patients. Generally, the onset is within the first 2 years of life. Epilepsy is commonly observed in children with spastic hemiplegia, followed by quadriplegia and diplegia. Significant risk factors for the development of epilepsy in patients with CP are family history, neonatal seizure, structural abnormalities, low Apgar scores, and mental retardation. Focal to bilateral tonic-clonic seizures are the most prominent seizure types, followed by focal aware or impaired awareness seizures, while infantile spasms and myoclonic jerks are seen in 25% of cases. Mental retardation is a predisposing factor for early onset of seizures and more severe epilepsy. The overall outcome of seizures in children with CP is generally poor, requiring prolonged course of antiepileptic medication, usually polytherapy with higher incidence of refractory seizures, side effects, comorbidities, and hospital admissions for drug-resistant seizures or status epilepticus.
Part of the book: Neurodevelopment and Neurodevelopmental Disorder