Treatment Practices and Outcomes in Continuous Spike and Wave during Slow Wave Sleep: A Multicenter Collaboration

Fiona M. Baumer, Nancy A. McNamara, Anthony L. Fine, Elia Pestana-Knight, Renée A. Shellhaas, Zihuai He, Daniel H. Arndt, William D. Gaillard, Sarah A. Kelley, Margot Nagan, Adam P. Ostendorf, Nilika S. Singhal, Laura Speltz, Kevin E. Chapman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To determine how continuous spike and wave during slow wave sleep (CSWS) is currently managed and to compare the effectiveness of current treatment strategies using a database from 11 pediatric epilepsy centers in the US. Study design: This retrospective study gathered information on baseline clinical characteristics, CSWS etiology, and treatment(s) in consecutive patients seen between 2014 and 2016 at 11 epilepsy referral centers. Treatments were categorized as benzodiazepines, steroids, other antiseizure medications (ASMs), or other therapies. Two measures of treatment response (clinical improvement as noted by the treating physician; and electroencephalography improvement) were compared across therapies, controlling for baseline variables. Results: Eighty-one children underwent 153 treatment trials during the study period (68 trials of benzodiazepines, 25 of steroids, 45 of ASMs, 14 of other therapies). Children most frequently received benzodiazepines (62%) or ASMs (27%) as first line therapy. Treatment choice did not differ based on baseline clinical variables, nor did these variables correlate with outcome. After adjusting for baseline variables, children had a greater odds of clinical improvement with benzodiazepines (OR 3.32, 95%CI 1.57-7.04, P = .002) or steroids (OR 4.04, 95%CI 1.41-11.59, P = .01) than with ASMs and a greater odds of electroencephalography improvement after steroids (OR 3.36, 95% CI 1.09-10.33, P = .03) than after ASMs. Conclusions: Benzodiazepines and ASMs are the most frequent initial therapy prescribed for CSWS in the US. Our data suggests that ASMs are inferior to benzodiazepines and steroids and support earlier use of these therapies. Multicenter prospective studies that rigorously assess treatment protocols and outcomes are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-228.e3
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
StatePublished - May 2021


  • ESES
  • LKS
  • Landau-Kleffner Syndrome
  • developmental regression
  • electrical status epilepticus of sleep
  • epilepsy
  • pediatric


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