[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sudden unexplained death in epilepsy (SUDEP) is the most common cause of death in epilepsy. Controversy surrounds its discussion with patients, with discrepancy between clinical practice and guideline recommendations; a previous audit of local practice in 2012 found that in only 4% of patients’ notes was there documented evidence of SUDEP discussion. The aim of this study was to evaluate current clinical practice and to determine whether there had been a change in practice following publication of the initial audit. A retrospective case note review was undertaken on all patients with a diagnosis of epilepsy attending a specialist epilepsy clinic in Tayside from January 1, 2012 to March 31, 2012. A documented discussion regarding SUDEP was recorded in 81 (34%) of 240 patients, an increase from previous review. Documented discussion was more likely to occur in new referrals and in those with ongoing generalized seizures, and conversely less likely to occur in those with a long history of seizures and drug-resistant epilepsy. This repeat audit demonstrates improvement in practice; however, the minority of patients are still being informed, with those at higher risk statistically less likely to be informed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose:
Sudden unexplained death in epilepsy (SUDEP) is uncommon. Discussing the risk of SUDEP can be difficult, particularly in those where the risk is considered low, and previous studies have suggested that clinical practice varies widely. The Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) suggest information on SUDEP is "essential" and National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommend that "tailored information on the person's relative risk of SUDEP should be part of the counselling process…". The study aimed to evaluate if discussion of SUDEP risk is being documented in clinical records and to determine if there is an association between documented discussion and risk factors for SUDEP.
A retrospective case note review was undertaken in those with an established diagnosis of epilepsy attending clinic between 1st January 2009 and 30th June 2009.
Overall, a documented SUDEP discussion was noted in 14/345 (4%) cases. Patients were statistically more likely to have a documented SUDEP discussion if they had ongoing generalised tonic-clonic seizures, with a trend also towards informing those non-compliant with medication.
Patients were more likely to be informed of SUDEP if they had potentially modifiable risk factors identified. There was, however, no documented evidence to suggest that SUDEP is being discussed in the majority of cases.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Establishing an early clinical diagnosis in variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) can be difficult, resulting in extended periods of uncertainty for many families and sometimes a view that patients have been subjected to unnecessary investigations. This issue is accentuated by the progressive nature of vCJD and by the difficulty in achieving a confident clinical diagnosis before an advanced stage of illness. Although diagnostic delay may be a result of the non-specific early clinical features, a systematic analysis of the process of diagnosis was undertaken, with the aim of trying to achieve earlier diagnosis of vCJD.
Retrospective case file analysis was undertaken of the first 150 definite and clinically probable cases of vCJD identified by the UK surveillance system.
There is a significant interval between illness onset and presentation to a primary care physician, which is influenced by the nature of the initial clinical features. Neurological review is invariably sought following the development of clinical signs and a diagnosis is then established relatively quickly. Despite the progressive clinical course, a confident clinical diagnosis is not usually achieved until a relatively advanced stage of illness (mean time to diagnosis 10.5 months) with a more rapid clinical progression accounting for those cases diagnosed earlier after symptom onset.
Early clinical diagnosis in vCJD is not possible in the great majority of cases because of non-specific initial symptoms. Once neurological signs develop, a diagnosis is usually made promptly but this is often at a relatively advanced stage of illness. The inherent delays in the diagnosis of vCJD have implications for those involved in both public health and therapeutics.
Preview · Article · Dec 2010 · Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD), a novel form of human prion disease, was recognized in 1996. The disease affected a younger cohort than sporadic CJD, and the early clinical course was dominated by psychiatric and sensory symptoms. In an attempt to aid diagnosis and establish standardization between surveillance networks, diagnostic criteria were established. These were devised from the features of a small number of cases and modified in 2000 as the clinical phenotype was established. Since then, only minor changes have been introduced; revalidation of the criteria in the current format is overdue.
Included in this study are autopsy/cerebral biopsy-proven cases of vCJD referred to the National CJD Surveillance Unit (NCJDSU) between 1995 and 2004 and suspect cases in which an alternative diagnosis was identified following autopsy/cerebral biopsy.
Over the 10-year period, 106 definite cases of vCJD and 45 pathologically confirmed "noncases" were identified from the archives of the NCJDSU. The median age at onset of the cases was significantly younger than that of the noncases (27 years [range, 12-74 years] vs 43 years [range, 10-64 years]), and the median duration of illness was significantly shorter (14 months [range, 6-39 months] vs 22 months [range, 2-139 months]). The most commonly identified core clinical feature in cases was dementia; persistent painful sensory symptoms were the least frequent. Eighty-eight of 106 (83%) vCJD cases were retrospectively classified as probable in life, 6 cases were classified as possible. Most cases were classified as probable on the basis of core clinical features and brain magnetic resonance imaging. To date, the diagnostic criteria remain 100% specific, with no autopsy/cerebral biopsy-proven noncases classified as probable in life.
This study confirms that the diagnostic criteria for vCJD are sensitive and specific and provide a useful standard framework for case classification in a surveillance setting.
No preview · Article · Jan 2010 · Annals of Neurology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genetic analysis of the human prion protein gene (PRNP) in suspect cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is necessary for accurate diagnosis and case classification. Previous publications on the genetic variation at the PRNP locus have highlighted the presence of numerous polymorphisms, in addition to the well recognised one at codon 129, with significant variability between geographically distinct populations. It is therefore of interest to consider their influence on susceptibility or the clinico-pathological disease phenotype. This study aimed to characterise the frequency and effect of PRNP open reading frame polymorphisms other than codon 129 in both disease and control samples sourced from the United Kingdom population.
DNA was extracted from blood samples and genetic data obtained by full sequence analysis of the prion protein gene or by restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis using restriction enzymes specific to the gene polymorphism under investigation.
147 of 166 confirmed cases of variant CJD (vCJD) in the UK have had PRNP codon 129 genotyping and all are methionine homozygous at codon 129; 118 have had full PRNP gene sequencing. Of the latter, 5 cases have shown other polymorphic loci: at codon 219 (2, 1.69%), at codon 202 (2, 1.69%), and a 24 bp deletion in the octapeptide repeat region (1, 0.85%). E219K and D202D were not found in sporadic CJD (sCJD) cases and therefore may represent genetic risk factors for vCJD.Genetic analysis of 309 confirmed UK sCJD patients showed codon 129 genotype frequencies of MM: 59.5% (n = 184), MV: 21.4% (n = 66), and VV: 19.1% (n = 59). Thirteen (4.2%) had the A117A polymorphism, one of which also had the P68P polymorphism, four (1.3%) had a 24 bp deletion, and a single patient had a novel missense variation at codon 167. As the phenotype of this latter case is similar to sCJD and in the absence of a family history of CJD, it is unknown whether this is a form of genetic CJD, or simply a neutral polymorphism.
This analysis of PRNP genetic variation in UK CJD patients is the first to show a comprehensive comparison with healthy individuals (n = 970) from the same population, who were genotyped for the three most common variations (codon 129, codon 117, and 24 bp deletion). These latter two genetic variations were equally frequent in UK sCJD or vCJD cases and a normal (healthy blood donor) UK population.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2009 · BMC Medical Genetics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) was first reported in the United Kingdom in 1996. Since then, the majority of cases have been observed in the United Kingdom where there was a major epidemic of bovine spongiform encephalopathy. France was the second country affected. To address the hypothesis of the involvement of a common strain of agent, we have compared clinical, neuropathological, and biochemical data on vCJD patients from both countries.
In France and the United Kingdom, epidemiological and clinical data were obtained from analysis of medical records and direct interview of the family of the patients using the same standardized questionnaire in both countries. When brain material was available, we performed with similar methods a comparative study of brain lesions and PrP(res) glycoform ratios in both vCJD populations.
Clinical data, genetic background, neuropathological finding, and biochemical findings in the 185 patients observed in France (n = 23) and the United Kingdom (n = 162) were similar except for age at death. Currently, blood transfusion is a risk factor identified only in the United Kingdom.
The close similarity between the cases of vCJD in France and the United Kingdom supports the hypothesis that a common strain of infectious agent is involved in both countries. The 5-year delay in the peak that we observed in France compared with the United Kingdom fits well with the increase in the importation of beef products to France from the United Kingdom between 1985 and 1995.
No preview · Article · Mar 2009 · Annals of Neurology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine the frequency, in the UK, of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (sCJD) with a cerebellar ataxic onset, and to describe the clinical features of the syndrome.
A retrospective review of autopsy-proved cases of sCJD cases in the UK, 1990-2005, identifying those presenting with cerebellar features without early cognitive decline.
29 of 618 (5%) patients with sCJD had an isolated cerebellar onset. Mean illness duration was 9 months. Subsequently, 21 (72%) developed myoclonus and 23 (79%) developed pyramidal features. Magnetic resonance imaging showed high signal in the basal ganglia in 11 of 14 (79%) patients. 7 of 15 (47%) patients were valine homozygotic at prion protein gene (PRNP)-129. Only 8 (28%) cases were referred to the surveillance unit after death.
A better definition of sCJD presenting with an isolated cerebellar syndrome might improve future case recognition and contribute to the determination of its cause.
Preview · Article · Dec 2006 · Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Between 1970 and 2003, seven cases of human dura mater-associated Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) were identified in the UK. Furthermore, we identified a case of CJD in a porcine dura graft recipient. The mean incubation period of the human dura mater cases was 93 (range 45-177) months. The clinico-pathological features of the cases are described and compared with cases previously reported in the world literature.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2006 · Journal of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To investigate the potential risk factors for variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (VCJD) in the United Kingdom.
Definite and probable vCJD cases (n = 136) were residing in Great Britain at disease onset, and were referred between May 1995 and November 2003. Control subjects (n = 922) were recruited between 2002 and 2003, from 100 randomly selected geographical clusters sampled to represent the geographical distribution of vCJD.
Reported frequent consumption of beef and beef products thought likely to contain mechanically recovered or head meat, or both, including burgers and meat pies, was associated with increased risk for vCJD, as was reported frequent chicken consumption. Surgical operations were generally similarly reported for cases and control subjects, with the exception of a small group of minor operations, possibly attributable to underreporting in control subjects. Cases and control subjects had similar reported occupational histories and exposure to animals.
These findings are consistent with dietary exposure to contaminated beef products being the main route of infection of vCJD, but recall bias cannot be excluded. There was no convincing evidence of increased risk through medical, surgical, or occupational exposure or exposure to animals.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2006 · Annals of Neurology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Heidenhain variant of sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD) is commonly understood to represent cases with early, prominent visual complaints. The term is clarified to represent those who present with isolated visual symptoms. This group may pose diagnostic difficulties and often present to ophthalmologists where they may undergo needless invasive procedures.
A retrospective review of 594 pathologically proved sCJD cases referred to the UK National CJD Surveillance Unit over a 15 year period to identify Heidenhain cases.
22 cases had isolated visual symptoms at onset with a mean illness duration of 4 months. The mean age at disease onset was 67 years. Most displayed myoclonus, pyramidal signs, and a delay in the onset of dementia for some weeks. 17 (77%) were referred initially to ophthalmology. Two underwent cataract extraction before diagnosis. All tested cases were homozygous for methionine at codon 129 of the prion protein gene.
This rare, but clinically distinct, group of patients with sCJD may cause diagnostic difficulties. Because ocular intervention carries with it the risk of onward transmission awareness of this condition among ophthalmologists is important.
Preview · Article · Nov 2005 · British Journal of Ophthalmology