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Childhood absence epilepsy (CAE), also known as petit mal epilepsy or pyknolepsy, is characterized by a brief altered state of consciousness and staring episodes (absence seizures).
The child may be unresponsive, then return to his or her activity unaware that anything has happened. The seizures often occur during exercise. This type of epilepsy can be inherited, and one-third of children with CAE have a family history or seizures. Seizures typically begin between ages 3 and 6 years.
Diagnosis involves a visit with an epilepsy doctor, a patient history, neurological exam, and other clinical tests, as well as neurodiagnostic testing such as EEG and MRI. The EEG will show a distinct three-per-second spike and wave pattern.
The prognosis for CAE is good, and 60 percent of patients outgrow their seizures. Seizures are often controlled with anti-epileptic drugs.
Children's Hospital's main campus is located in the Lawrenceville neighborhood. Our main hospital address is:
UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
One Children’s Hospital Way
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
In addition to the main hospital, Children's has many convenient locations in other neighborhoods throughout the greater Pittsburgh region.
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Interested in giving to Children's Hospital? Visit Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation's website to make a donation online.