Changes to Seizure Patterns
As children with Dravet Syndrome become older, changes in seizure patterns are likely to occur.
Increase in seizure frequency; decrease in status episodes
If seizures are very long and occur close together with no recovery time, a condition known as ‘status epilepticus’ or 'status seizures' may occur, causing the child to be admitted to intensive care and have emergency treatment in A&E.
Generally as the child gets older, typically around four years of age, status seizures begin to settle. However, individuals with Dravet Syndrome will remain prone to status seizures, particularly when experiencing illness and infection. Seizure frequency may increase around the time when the status seizures begin to settle, therefore individuals with Dravet Syndrome may have more seizures but they may be shorter in duration and not always require emergency medication.
Development of focal seizures with impairment of awareness
Sometimes a person may get warning of a seizure called an aura and may walk up to their parents/carers in this phase. Once consciousness is impaired, the person may display automatic behaviour such as lip smacking, chewing or swallowing. There may also be loss of memory (amnesia).
The person may still be able to perform routine tasks such as walking, although such movements are not purposeful or planned. You may not recognise that anything is wrong. It can be very difficult to know if a patient is experiencing a focal seizure, particularly if they are non-verbal or have a severe developmental delay or learning disability.
Find out more information about focal seizures with impairment of awareness here
Development of myoclonic seizures
These seizures may appear, generally between the ages of one and four, often building up to a generalised tonic clonic seizure.
Find out more information about myoclonic seizures here
Development of nocturnal (night-time) seizures
As children get older they may begin to experience their seizures at night, particularly as they transition through sleep phases. For some families this feels like a positive change as their child will not sustain any injuries from falling, but for others it may cause additional anxieties and fears.