MPEI (Migrating Partial Epilepsy of Infancy) - Diagnosis

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Niamh's Journey


The diagnosis of MPEI is made by observing the seizure pattern on an EEG alongside other biochemical tests.

A diagnosis of MPEI itself, does not explain why the child is affected the way it is, and it does not give answers as to what the underlying problem may be.

Consequently the diagnosis of MPEI gives no clues to the medical profession as to how the condition may be treated or cured.

Instead it provides a "group" name for a collection of children who's EEG's show a highly unusual but similar pattern with no structural, biochemical or metabolic diagnostic explanation.
All these children display similar medical and developmental problems which can be found in MPEI Characteristics.

1. Seizure Pattern on an EEG

The diagnosis is made by taking a very careful account of the seizures, especially at what age the seizures started and descriptions of the seizures.

In some cases it is possible to watch the seizure "move" from one side of the body to the other as it migrates through the brain, but this is not always the case, and sometimes you may just see the seizure change in appearance over its duration as it moves from one lobe to another or becomes generalised.

The use of telemetry (long duration video EEG) is particularly helpful in diagnosing this condition, as the pattern of seizure activity in this condition is highly unusual, and clearly shows the seizure moving or "migrating" to and from different parts of the brain, hence the name ‘migrating’ partial epilepsy of infancy.

The EEG pattern of this condition does not match that of any previously recognised epilepsy syndrome.

2. Normal Results for other Diagnosic tests to rule out other specific conditions

To date, the vast majority of blood tests, spinal fluid tests, tissue biopsies and genetic analysis in children diagnosed with this condition have come back normal thus ruling out other recognised conditions.

A universal genetic basis for this condition has therefore not yet been identified and it may be that the underlying fault that gives rise to this syndrome may not be the same for every affected child.

We have found a diagnostic protocol click which may be useful to help parents understand how theit child should be being investigated