James R. Barnett, Bradley M. Fleming, Samarth P. Doshi, Jason Freedman, Nicholas R. Ambrosio, Kennedy R. Geenen, Patricia L. Bruno, Elizabeth A. Thiele. Understanding Sunflower syndrome: Results of an online questionnaire. Epilepsy & Behavior, Volume 117, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2021.107856.
To characterize the clinical phenotype, treatments, and impact on quality of life of Sunflower syndrome.
A 138-question survey was created focusing on seizure description, disease course, treatment history, medical history, family history, and aspects of quality of life of individuals with Sunflower syndrome. The survey was administered to individuals with Sunflower syndrome who experience hand waving episodes (HWE) and/or their caregivers via Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap).
Sixty-eight responses were included in analysis. Seventy-one% of respondents were female. The mean age of participants was 13.6 years, with 84% of respondents under the age of 18. The average age of onset of HWE was 6.7 years. HWE frequency varied from a few episodes per week to multiple episodes per hour. Sixty-two% of participants experienced other seizure types. Participants had been on an average of 1.9 anti-seizure medications with varying efficacy. Other methods to reduce HWE included wearing a hat or sunglasses, hand holding, using special tinted lenses, and avoiding the sun and bright lights. Sixty-nine% of participants reported anxiety or depression related to their epilepsy, and 65% said their HWE affected their social life.
Sunflower syndrome is a highly stereotyped, refractory epilepsy which significantly impacts the lives of affected individuals. It remains underrecognized and poorly understood. These results characterize Sunflower syndrome in a large population of affected individuals and provides a basis for future research to better understand the epilepsy and improve clinical care.
Courtesy of a patient's parent