What can cause spasms in babies?

Infantile spasms (also called West syndrome) can be caused by problems with the way the brain developed in the womb, infections, brain injury, or abnormal blood vessels in the brain (such as an arteriovenous malformations). Infantile spasms also can happen in babies with some types of metabolic and genetic disorders.

Is it normal for my baby to have spasms?

Babies may have as many as 100 spasms a day. The seizures may be more likely to happen just as the baby is waking up. Infantile spasms most often begin between 4 and 7 months, but can start any time in the first few years of life. Later onset spasms may also occur but are rare.

How do I know if my baby has infantile spasms?

Symptoms of Infantile Spasms (IS)

  1. Raise their arms over their head or stick their arms straight out to the side.
  2. Stiffen their legs or “tuck them into the belly,” as if having stomach pain.
  3. Suddenly bend at the waist.
  4. Drop or bob their heads briefly.
  5. Roll their eyes back suddenly with subtle head nodding.
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What is the difference between infantile spasms and seizures?

An infantile spasm is a seizure with sudden stiffening of the body and brief bending forward or backward of the arms, legs and head. Each seizure lasts only a second or two and usually in a series. Seizures are most common just after waking up and rarely occur during sleep.

Can infantile spasms be cured?

Many children with infantile spasms develop other kinds of epilepsy. (Watch examples of infantile spasms.) “Some of these children can be cured, but successful treatment often depends on prompt diagnosis,” said Hussain.

Are infantile spasms an emergency?

As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s critical to remember infantile spasms are still medical emergencies that need urgent care. Any delay in seeking emergency treatment can increase your child’s risk for brain damage.

Are infantile spasms serious?

Infantile spasms (IS), also called West Syndrome, is a rare type of epilepsy in children. This syndrome is considered an epileptic encephalopathy or severe brain disorder. Without early treatment, IS can cause problems with your child’s: Cognition.

At what age do infantile spasms start?

Most infants with infantile spasms develop a pattern of movements called spasms, sometimes also referred to as epileptic spasms. The most common age for these spasms to begin is between 3 and 6 months of age. They can begin earlier than 3 months and sometimes begin after 12 months of age.

What can be mistaken for infantile spasms?

Infantile spasms are caused by a condition in a baby’s brain and include repetitive, but often subtle movements—such as jerking of the mid-section, dropping of the head, raising of the arms or wide-eyed blinks. IS can be misdiagnosed as colic, reflux, or a startle reflex.

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What is shudder syndrome?

Shuddering attacks are shivering movements of the head and upper extremities that typically last several seconds and can occur at high frequency. Normal neurologic examination findings and normal EEG tracing distinguish this condition from epileptic syndromes.

What does a seizure in infants look like?

Focal seizures: Focal seizures may involve the infant having spasms or rigidity in one muscle group, becoming pale, sweating, vomiting, screaming, crying, gagging, smacking their lips, or becoming unconscious. For an example of how a focal seizure might look, click here.

Do infantile spasms cause mental retardation?

Infantile spasms (IS), i.e., West syndrome, as an epileptic encephalopathy, represents one of the major causes of acquired mental retardation in early childhood (Roger and Dulac, 1994).

Do infantile spasms cause brain damage?

Infantile spasms is a complex and rare disorder that can have very serious consequences. It can lead to death in some babies, and cause intellectual disabilities and developmental problems in others. Even once the seizures are gone, the damaging brain effects can remain.

Do babies with infantile spasms sleep more?

It is common for babies who have infantile spasms to become irritable and to go off their feeds. Their sleep pattern also changes in that they may sleep more during the day and less during the night.