What is the prognosis of Sturge-Weber syndrome (SWS)? In adults

Updated: Dec 26, 2018
  • Author: Masanori Takeoka, MD; Chief Editor: George I Jallo, MD  more...
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Few data are available on adults with SWS. Sujansky and Conradi studied the outcomes in 52 adults older than 18 years who had SWS and were identified by the Sturge-Weber Foundation. [42] The age of onset of glaucoma ranged from 0-41 years, with a median of 5 years.

Seizures occurred in 83% of the patients, glaucoma in 60%, and a neurologic deficit—such as stroke, paralysis, spasticity, or weakness—in 65%. The age of onset of seizures ranged from 0-23 years, with a median of 6 months.

Seizure outcome was known in 41 patients in the study, with full control attained in 11 (27%) patients, a decrease in seizures achieved in (49%) 20 patients, and no improvement found in 10 (24%) patients. The morbid conditions associated with these seizures are listed in Table 2, below.

Headache occurred in 28 (62%) of 45 patients, with age of onset ranging from early childhood to age 38 years and with a median age of onset of 18 years. The headache frequency could be determined in 23 patients: daily in 9 patients (39%), 1-4 times per week in 4 (17%), 1-2 times per month in 6 (26%) patients, and rare in 4 patients (17%).

Headaches were associated with increased discoloration of facial PWS, auras, nausea/vomiting, dysarthria, dizziness, and feelings of facial pulsation.

Table 2. Developmental Morbidity Associated with Seizures in Adults with SWS (Open Table in a new window)


With Seizures (%)

Without Seizures (%)

Developmental delay



Emotional/behavioral problems



Need for special education






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