West Syndrome: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 11/22/2021

West syndrome is a severe condition in infants characterized by epileptic spasms, intellectual disability, and abnormal brain waves measured on an electroencephalogram (EEG).

Signs and symptoms of West syndrome typically begin in the first year of life, with an average age of onset of 6 months. Associated signs and symptoms include

  • seizures with involuntary muscle spasms,
  • developmental delay,
  • poor coordination, and
  • intellectual disability in some affected children.

Many of those affected will develop recurrent seizures as they grow older.

Causes of West Syndrome

Many different diseases can cause West syndrome, including genetic conditions, metabolic disorders, trauma or brain injury, brain malformations, and infections. The most common cause of West syndrome is tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC).

Other west syndrome symptoms and signs

  • Abnormal Brain Waves Measured on an Electroencephalogram (EEG)
  • Developmental Delay
  • Epileptic Spasms
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Poor Coordination

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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.