OBJECTIVE: Electrical status epilepticus of sleep (ESES) is a rare electrographic pattern associated with global regression, which is often poorly responsive to traditional epilepsy treatments and can have a devastating and permanent neurocognitive outcome. The authors analyzed clinical, electroencephalographic, and neuropsychological outcomes in 9 patients with refractory ESES treated with functional hemispherotomy to illustrate the wide clinical spectrum associated with the disease and explore the role of hemispherotomy in its treatment. METHODS: During the period between 2003 and 2015, 80 patients underwent hemispherotomy at the authors' institution. Video electroencephalography (EEG) reports were reviewed for ESES or continuous spikes and waves during sleep (CSWS). Patients with preoperative ESES (> 85% slow-wave sleep occupied by spike waves), a unilateral structural lesion amenable to surgery, and more than 6 months of follow-up data were included in the analysis. Clinical data, EEG recordings, neuropsychological testing, and parental and clinician reports were retrospectively reviewed. RESULTS: Nine patients were eligible for study inclusion. Age at seizure onset ranged from birth to 4.2 years (mean 1.9 years), age at ESES diagnosis ranged from 3.5 to 8.8 years (mean 6.0 years), and age at hemispherotomy ranged from 3.7 to 11.5 years (mean 6.8 years). All patients had drug-resistant epilepsy. The duration of epilepsy prior to hemispherotomy ranged from 2.7 to 8.9 years (mean ± SD, 5.0 ± 2.2 years). Engel Class I seizure outcome was observed in all 9 children, with a mean follow-up of 3.0 years (range 0.5-6.1 years). Hemispherotomy terminated ESES in 6 of 6 patients with available postoperative sleep EEG. All children had preoperative neuropsychological impairments. Developmental regression was halted postoperatively, but none of the children returned to their original pre-ESES baseline. Four children demonstrated academic gains, 2 of whom transitioned to mainstream classes. CONCLUSIONS: Children with drug-resistant ESES and a unilateral structural lesion should be evaluated for hemispherotomy as they may experience the cessation of seizures, termination of ESES, and improvement in neuropsychological status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-62
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2017


  • CSWS
  • Continuous spikes and waves during sleep
  • ESES
  • Electrical status epilepticus of sleep
  • Epilepsy surgery


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