Stroke in the developing brain and intractable epilepsy: effect of timing on hippocampal sclerosis.
Squier W., Salisbury H., Sisodiya S.
A detailed study was made of the pathology of specimens removed by hemispherectomy for the treatment of intractable epilepsy in children with unilateral middle cerebral artery stroke. Neuropathological criteria were used to differentiate strokes that occurred in early intrauterine development (before 28 weeks gestational age) from those occurring in the last trimester, at birth, or after birth: 19 children had early strokes and 21 late. There was no difference in seizure history or occurrence of febrile convulsions in these two groups. Hippocampal tissue was available in 20 patients; pathology in the hippocampus, remote from the infarcted area, showed a marked difference between early-onset and late-onset groups. Hippocampal sclerosis was uncommon in children with early-onset strokes but developed in most of the children whose strokes were of later origin. However, hippocampal sclerosis was more closely related to a clinical history of a late initial precipitating insult irrespective of infarct timing. These findings demonstrate the changing vulnerability of the developing brain and show that hippocampal pathology is more closely related to the timing of an insult than seizure history or the occurrence of febrile convulsions.