Epileptic spasms in CDKL5 deficiency disorder: Delayed treatment and poor response to first-line therapies

Heather E. Olson, Scott Demarest, Elia Pestana-Knight, Ahsan N. Moosa, Xiaoming Zhang, José R. Pérez-Pérez, Judy Weisenberg, Erin O’Connor Prange, Eric D. Marsh, Rajsekar R. Rajaraman, Bernhard Suter, Akshat Katyayan, Isabel Haviland, Carolyn Daniels, Bo Zhang, Caitlin Greene, Michelle DeLeo, Lindsay Swanson, Jamie Love-Nichols, Timothy BenkeChellamani Harini, Annapurna Poduri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objective: We aimed to assess the treatment response of infantile-onset epileptic spasms (ES) in CDKL5 deficiency disorder (CDD) vs other etiologies. Methods: We evaluated patients with ES from the CDKL5 Centers of Excellence and the National Infantile Spasms Consortium (NISC), with onset from 2 months to 2 years, treated with adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), oral corticosteroids, vigabatrin, and/or the ketogenic diet. We excluded children with tuberous sclerosis complex, trisomy 21, or unknown etiology with normal development because of known differential treatment responses. We compared the two cohorts for time to treatment and ES remission at 14 days and 3 months. Results: We evaluated 59 individuals with CDD (79% female, median ES onset 6 months) and 232 individuals from the NISC database (46% female, median onset 7 months). In the CDD cohort, seizures prior to ES were common (88%), and hypsarrhythmia and its variants were present at ES onset in 34%. Initial treatment with ACTH, oral corticosteroids, or vigabatrin started within 1 month of ES onset in 27 of 59 (46%) of the CDD cohort and 182 of 232 (78%) of the NISC cohort (p <.0001). Fourteen-day clinical remission of ES was lower for the CDD group (26%, 7/27) than for the NISC cohort (58%, 106/182, p =.0002). Sustained ES remission at 3 months occurred in 1 of 27 (4%) of CDD patients vs 96 of 182 (53%) of the NISC cohort (p <.0001). Comparable results were observed with longer lead time (≥1 month) or prior treatment. Ketogenic diet, used within 3 months of ES onset, resulted in ES remission at 1 month, sustained at 3 months, in at least 2 of 13 (15%) individuals with CDD. Significance: Compared to the broad group of infants with ES, children with ES in the setting of CDD often experience longer lead time to treatment and respond poorly to standard treatments. Development of alternative treatments for ES in CDD is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1821-1832
Number of pages12
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • CDD
  • National Infantile Spasms Consortium
  • adrenocorticotropic hormone
  • hypsarrhythmia
  • prednisolone
  • vigabatrin


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