Health Library

The Health Library is a collection of health and wellness resources created for learning and accessibility. Select a topic below for related health information or search for a topic in the search bar for more information on other medical conditions.

Infantile Spasms (West Syndrome)

Overview

Infantile spasms (West syndrome) is a type of epilepsy that usually starts before a child is 1 year old. The spasms affect a child's head, torso, and limbs. The spasms last for seconds and may occur in clusters. Children with West syndrome have certain changes in the electrical impulses in the brain. And most have developmental delays.

Although an exact cause cannot always be found, infantile spasms may be caused by diseases, injuries, or infections that occurred before, during, or after birth.

Infantile spasms are treated with adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) or steroids like prednisone. Vigabatrin, an antiseizure medicine, may also be an effective treatment for infantile spasms. Sometimes other antiseizure medicines are used.

Related Information

Credits

Current as of: December 13, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
John Pope MD - Pediatrics
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Steven C. Schachter MD - Neurology

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Learn how we develop our content.