Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS)

Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome

As a parent, you do whatever needs to get done to ensure your child’s welfare — a loving home, food, and a safe environment. But no matter how hard you try, some things may be out of your control — such as when you receive a medical diagnosis. The experience can feel even more overwhelming if the condition is not as well-known. Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome is one of those conditions. What is it? How do you treat it? And what can you do so that your child has as normal a childhood as possible?

What is Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome?

Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS) is a rare type of epilepsy that occurs in children. It comprises about 5% of cases of childhood epilepsy, and signs appear during infancy or early childhood. The condition is severe, and can cause children to experience three types of seizures:

Atonic. This type of seizure is also known as drop attacks because they cause the child to suddenly fall from a standing or sitting position. They are very quick — usually lasting less than 15 seconds — and cause the child to become unresponsive.

Tonic-Clonic. When this type of seizure occurs, the body, arms, and legs contract, then extend, tremor, and relax. The seizure can last between one and five minutes, and the child comes out of it feeling fatigued, having trouble seeing or speaking, and/or experiencing a headache or body aches.

Absence. This type of seizure usually occurs in children between the ages of four to 12 and can cause a brief changed state of consciousness. The child keeps their posture, but their mouth or face may twitch, or their eyes blink rapidly for about 30 seconds. After the episode, the child won’t recall what just happened. Absence seizures can occur several times throughout the day and are commonly associated with learning issues and behavioral problems.

Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome Causes

While Lennox-Gastaut syndrome can be caused by many underlying conditions, the exact cause is usually unknown. Examples of medical conditions that may cause a person to develop LGS include reduced oxygen supply before birth, encephalitismeningitistuberous sclerosis, and trauma.

Risk Factors for Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome

LGS is more likely to occur in children who experienced brain malformation while in utero, gene mutations, brain injury during birth, brain infections, obstructed blood flow to the brain, or any disorder affecting their nervous system. One of the biggest risk factors is a condition called cortical dysplasia — which occurs when the top layer of the brain doesn’t develop neural connections.

Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms will depend on which type of seizure the child is having. The most common include:

Atonic seizure: 

  • Drooping eyelids
  • Going limp
  • Falling
  • Jerking
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Loss of muscle tone

Tonic-Clonic seizure: 

  • Stiff muscles
  • Groaning
  • Falling to the floor
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Biting their tongue or inside the cheeks
  • Arms and legs jerking rapidly
  • Losing control of their bladder or bowels
  • Light blue coloration if they are having trouble breathing

Absence seizure:

  • Suddenly stopping all activity and talking
  • Staring into space for a few seconds
  • Smacking the lips
  • Fluttering eyelids
  • Eyes turning upwards
  • May go unnoticed, as they only last for a few seconds

Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome Diagnosis

In order to diagnose Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome, the doctor will conduct an electroencephalogram (EEG) to measure electrical activity in the child’s brain waves. The process involves pasting about 20 electrodes to the scalp to record brain activity, which the doctor will watch in a monitor. This testing is painless. The medical provider may also order additional testing — such as blood work, spinal tap, MRI, or CT scan — to rule out other medical conditions or tumors.

Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome Treatment

Treatment may be difficult, since Lennox–Gastaut often does not respond to anti-seizure medications.  When this is the case, the doctor may recommend changing the child’s diet to one that’s high-fat, low-carb (also known as the ketogenic diet), which can reduce the frequency of seizures.

As a last resort, the doctor may order surgery to implant a vagus nerve stimulator (VNS) to reduce the frequency of seizures, or a corpus callosotomy — a surgery that involves opening the brain to disconnect the corpus callosum, a band of nerve fibers that connect the left and right brain hemispheres. This last operation is only performed on children with the most extreme and severe cases of Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome.

Contact Sonas for Home Health Care in Florida

It can be hard to balance your time between work, home, and caring for a child who has Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. You can feel helpless and want to spend every minute of your day with your child, and homecare providers offer the support you or your loved one needs.

If you are considering pediatric home health care services in Florida, contact the caring staff at Sonas Home Health Care. Call today (888) 592-5855.