Which age groups have the highest prevalence of absence seizures?

Updated: Sep 25, 2018
  • Author: Scott Segan, MD; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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The generalized idiopathic epilepsies have age-related onset.

Onset of absence seizures in children with symptomatic generalized epilepsies depends on the underlying disorder. While many of these disorders may have their onset at an early (prenatal, perinatal, or postnatal) age, absence seizures do not appear until later in childhood. An example is the Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. The cause may be a genetic disorder or a perinatal insult, but the absence seizures do not present until age 1-8 years. [28]

Childhood absence epilepsy onset is at age 4-8 years, with peak onset at age 6-7 years. [26]

Juvenile absence epilepsy onset is generally around puberty. Actual age of onset may vary, depending on whether pyknoleptic (8.3 ± 4.5 y) or nonpyknoleptic seizures occur (14.8 ± 8.3 y). [29]

Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy has a more varied age of onset (8-26 y), but 79% of patients have an onset between the ages of 12 and 18 years. [30] Because the absence and myoclonic seizures are brief, they often go unrecognized, and many patients do not present until they experience a tonic-clonic seizure.

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