West Syndrome

  • Christian M. Korff
  • Douglas R. NordliJr.
Reference work entry

Brief History-Evolution of the Concept

The association of infantile spasms and developmental delay was first described by Dr West in 1841, whose son presented at 4 months with abnormal paroxysmal movements described as “slight head bobbings” that progressively evolved into “bowings and relaxings, repeated at intervals of a few seconds, and repeated 10–20 times at each attack, which would not continue for more than 2 or 3 min” (West 1841). At 1 year, Dr West also underlined the fact that his son “neither possessed the intellectual vivacity or the power of moving his limbs of a child of his age.” The doctors to whom Dr West asked for expert opinion had observed similar patients before, and termed spasms “Salaam convulsions.” Various terms in different languages were used to describe this epilepsy throughout history, such as “eclampsia nutans,” “Blitz-Nick-Salaam Krämpfe,” “propulsiv petit mal,” or “epilepsia generalizada en flexion.” The triad of infantile spasms, developmental delay or...


Tuberous Sclerosis Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Infantile Spasm Epileptic Encephalopathy West Syndrome 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christian M. Korff
    • 1
  • Douglas R. NordliJr.
    • 2
  1. 1.Pediatric Neurology, Child and Adolescent DepartmentUniversity HospitalGenevaSwitzerland
  2. 2.Epilepsy CenterChildren’s Memorial HospitalChicagoUSA

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