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CASE REPORT
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 69  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 1040--1042

Ictal Smile and Fear In A Child With Refractory Epilepsy - An Interesting Electro Clinical Correlation

Sita Jayalakshmi1, Subrat Kumar Nanda1, Sudhindra Vooturi1, Rammohan Vadapalli2, Manas Panigrahi3,  
1 Department of Neurology, Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences, Secunderabad, Telangana, India
2 Department of Radiology, Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences, Secunderabad, Telangana, India
3 Department of Neurosurgery, Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences, Secunderabad, Telangana, India

Correspondence Address:
Sita Jayalakshmi
Senior Consultant Neurologist, Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences, Minister Road, 1-8-31/1, Secunderabad - 500 003, Telangana
India

Abstract

Ictal fear is a common manifestation with seizures originating from temporal lobe, orbitofrontal region and cingulate cortex. Ictal smile has been described in association with seizures from hypothalamus, cingulate cortex, lateral and prefrontal cortex. Isolated fear or ictal smile has been reported in various published reports in the past in patients with cingulate epilepsy. We report an unusual semiology with ictal smiling along with fear and preserved sensorium during the event, in a four-year-old child; Our hypothesis was that the ictal origin, most likely from the right mesial frontal or cingulate cortex. The child underwent resective surgery after multimodality evaluation and has been seizure free for 6 years post-surgery.



How to cite this article:
Jayalakshmi S, Nanda SK, Vooturi S, Vadapalli R, Panigrahi M. Ictal Smile and Fear In A Child With Refractory Epilepsy - An Interesting Electro Clinical Correlation.Neurol India 2021;69:1040-1042


How to cite this URL:
Jayalakshmi S, Nanda SK, Vooturi S, Vadapalli R, Panigrahi M. Ictal Smile and Fear In A Child With Refractory Epilepsy - An Interesting Electro Clinical Correlation. Neurol India [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Oct 22 ];69:1040-1042
Available from: https://www.neurologyindia.com/text.asp?2021/69/4/1040/325357


Full Text



Ictal fear is a common manifestation with seizures originating from temporal lobe, orbitofrontal region and cingulate cortex.[1],[2],[3] The network for fear involves orbitoprefrontal, anterior cingulate, and temporal limbic cortices. Ictal smile is an uncommon manifestation of partial seizures and has been described in association with seizures from hypothalamus, cingulate cortex, lateral and prefrontal cortex and even parietal lobe.[3],[4] We report an unusual semiology with ictal smiling along with fear in a four-year-old child.

 Case Illustration



The case report is from a tertiary referral care centre and necessary consents were obtained.

A 4-year-old child has presented with refractory partial epilepsy. The child was born of full term normal delivery. Two days after birth, he developed respiratory distress that was managed in neonatal intensive care unit. He had normal motor, social and language development and started attending play school. The child had his first unprovoked seizure at the age of one year eight months, three days after an episode of fever and was given sodium valproate for one month. There was no family history of epilepsy or febrile convulsions. He had the second unprovoked seizure after four months and continued to have infrequent seizures, once in six months for next two years.

The seizure description included sudden brief behavioral arrest followed by smiling for few seconds where mother could identify the onset. This was followed by intense fear and crying and purposeless movements of the right hand. The child was aware of the fear and could respond to questions during the event. Over time, the epilepsy became refractory to multiple anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs). He had 2 episodes of status epilepticus requiring hospitalization. During these events, the child had behavioral arrest followed by fear with abduction and extension of left upper limb and with loss of awareness. Despite multiple AEDs, the frequency of seizures increased to 3-4 per week in clusters, 90% during sleep and later became multiple daily seizures of 8-10 per hour for one month prior to his visit to our centre.

Non-invasive investigations

During the Video EEG, multiple events were recorded at a frequency of 4-8 per hour. The seizures started with a sudden behavioral arrest, then smiling for a few seconds, followed by intense fear and crying, right hand automatisms with immobile left upper limb, and preserved awareness throughout the event. The inter-ictal electroencephalogram (EEG) showed rhythmic right frontal sharp and slow wave discharges [Figure 1]a and intermittent generalized sharp and slow wave activity. The ictal EEG showed a rhythmic 2-3/second sharp and slow wave discharges, confined to the right frontal and parasagittal region throughout the event [Figure 1]b.{Figure 1}

His two previous 1.5 Tesla MRIs of the brain were normal. A repeat 3 Tesla MRI of the brain showed a subtle right cingulate and mesial frontal cortical thickening, a possible focal cortical dysplasia [Figure 2]a and [Figure 2]b. The inter-ictal 18-Fluoro deoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG PET) and the PET MRI fusion was suggestive of a right mesial frontal and cingulate mild hypometabolism [Figure 2]c and [Figure 2]d. The ictal single photon emission computerized tomographic (SPECT) scan performed after injection of the dye at 8 minutes in a seizure of 46 seconds duration, showed bifrontal hyper perfusion and non-lateralizing [Figure 3]. On Binet Kamath test, his mental age was four years two months, with an intelligence quotient of 105, but he had stopped going to school due to very frequent seizures. On parental interview, he had no psychiatric or behavioural problems, but quality of life was poor.{Figure 2}{Figure 3}

Invasive evaluation

The child required an invasive monitoring due to lack of definite localization after multi-modality evaluation. As the pre-surgical evaluation data was lateralizing to the right hemisphere with a possible cingulate or a mesial frontal localization, an invasive grid placement (guided by neuronaviagation) was done as an emergency procedure when the child recovered from refractory status epilepticus but was still having frequent seizures. A 64-contact grid was placed on right frontal lobe covering the motor cortex and the prefrontal cortex, four 8-contact surface electrodes were placed each on the right orbitofrontal, right temporal, right inter-hemispheric region covering the posterior cingulate and paracentral lobule and left frontal cortex and one 8 contact depth electrodes in right cingulate cortex. The intracranial ictal EEG showed ictal EEG onset from cingulate region [Figure 4].{Figure 4}

Surgery and outcome

The child underwent right cingulate, mesial frontal and prefrontal resection guided by electrocorticography. Histopathology was suggestive of focal cortical dysplasia type IIA [Figure 5]. All the AEDs were continued at the same doses for twelve months followed by gradual reduction. At last follow up, 6 years post-surgery, the child was seizure-free on one AED, and going to regular school.{Figure 5}

 Discussion



Ictal fear is a common manifestation with seizures originating from temporal lobe,[1] orbitofrontal region[2] and cingulate cortex.[3] Ictal smile has been described in association with seizures from hypothalamus,[4] cingulate cortex,[3] lateral and prefrontal cortex[4] and even parietal lobe.[4] Isolated fear or ictal smile has been reported in various published reports in the past in patients with cingulate epilepsy. Ictal smiling along with fear in the seizure semiology in the present case was an unusual combination. We hypothesized and confirmed that the ictal origin was from right cingulate cortex and the child is seizure free for 6 years after resection of this region.

The cingulate gyrus is part of the limbic system with extensive connectivity to different anatomic and functional areas, including the supplementary motor area,[3] hence an important structure in seizure propagation. Cingulate gyrus epilepsies comprise complex partial seizures with complex motor gestural automatisms at onset, autonomic signs, and changes in mood and affect. The affective behaviour can be diverse in form of fear, smile or laugh, crying, spitting, clapping, hand shaking and various other manifestations.[5],[6],[7] This can explain the semiology of ictal smile and fear in the present case.

 Conclusion



Cingulate epilepsy can present with varied affective features and we propose that the occurrence of ictal smile and followed by intense fear could be a semiological occurrence in these patients.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

References

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