There is a substantial delay in diagnosing and treating infantile spasms in children with epilepsy, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Epilepsy Society, in Huston, Texas.This may be due to lack of awareness of infantile spasms amongst healthcare professionals, and it could have “catastrophic“ consequences.According to the researchers, “There is a desperate need for effective interventions to increase basic familiarity with infantile spasms among healthcare providers.”For the study, the team led by Dr Shaun Hussain, at the University of California, surveyed the parents of 100 children with past or current infantile spasms.They found that only 29% of the children were seen by an effective provider within one week of the onset of the spasms. The median time to be seen was 24.5 days.Many parents reported that their suspicions that “something was wrong” with their child were often disregarded by paediatricians, emergency room physicians and, in some cases, even neurologists. Many parents reported that they diagnosed their children themselves using the internet and referred them to an effective provider themselves.Factors such as the family’s race, ethnicity, religion, household income, education level, type of healthcare insurance, and distance of home to healthcare centre were not associated with the timing of first effective care provision.In a press release, Dr Amy Brooks-Kayal, at Children’s Hospital Colorado and University of Colorado, who was not involved in the study said: “If parents are worried, they should request to see a pediatric neurologist for a video EEG and ask that their primary care provider facilitate an urgent appointment so that the child can be seen quickly.”Infantile spasms are different from other types of seizures in that they last a short period of time (about a second). They are therefore difficult to notice and diagnose. However, a delay in diagnosis and treatment can cause substantial reduction in long-term developmental outcomes, including autism, lifelong epilepsy or cognitive disability.Author: Dr Özge ÖzkayaClick here for more news articles about epilepsy in children.