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Incidence of Dravet Syndrome in a US Population

De novo mutations of the gene sodium channel 1? (SCN1A) are the major cause of Dravet syndrome, an infantile epileptic encephalopathy. US incidence of DS has been estimated at 1 in 40?000, but no US epidemiologic studies have been performed since the advent of genetic testing. In a retrospective, population-based cohort of all infants born at Kaiser Permanente Northern California during 2007-2010, we electronically identified patients who received ?2 seizure diagnoses before age 12 months and who were also prescribed anticonvulsants at 24 months. A child neurologist reviewed records to identify infants who met 4 of 5 criteria for clinical Dravet syndrome: normal development before seizure onset; ?2 seizures before age 12 months; myoclonic, hemiclonic, or generalized tonic-clonic seizures; ?2 seizures lasting >10 minutes; and refractory seizures after age 2 years. SCN1A gene sequencing was performed as part of routine clinical care. Eight infants met the study criteria for clinical Dravet syndrome, yielding an incidence of 1 per 15?700. Six of these infants (incidence of 1 per 20?900) had a de novo SCN1A missense mutation that is likely to be pathogenic. One infant had an inherited SCN1A variant that is unlikely to be pathogenic. All 8 experienced febrile seizures, and 6 had prolonged seizures lasting >10 minutes by age 1 year. Dravet syndrome due to an SCN1A mutation is twice as common in the United States as previously thought. Genetic testing should be considered in children with ?2 prolonged febrile seizures by 1 year of age.

Authors: Wu YW; Sullivan J; McDaniel SS; Meisler MH; Walsh EM; Li SX; Kuzniewicz MW

Pediatrics. 2015 Nov;136(5):e1310-5. Epub 2015-10-05.

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