An Overview of Ohtahara Syndrome

Published by: VeryWell Health
Written by: Heidi Moawad

Ohtahara syndrome is a rare type of epilepsy that begins during infancy. It is also called early infantile epileptic encephalopathy. Children who have Ohtahara syndrome experience seizures and have severe developmental problems. This type of epilepsy is associated with a characteristic pattern that can be recognized on an electroencephalogram (EEG). Anti epilepsy drugs (AEDs) are usually needed to help manage the seizures.  This condition is not curable, and children who have Ohtahara syndrome are not usually expected to survive beyond early childhood. There are exceptions, and some people with this syndrome may continue to live into adulthood, but they tend to have persistent epilepsy and physical and cognitive deficits.


Children who have Ohtahara syndrome experience their earliest seizures before the age of 3 months. They may seem healthy at birth, but can start to have jerking movements within a few weeks. In some cases, mothers may recall that their baby actually started having erratic movements during the pregnancy.

Babies who have Ohtahara syndrome may experience several types of seizures. The most common seizure types in Ohtahara syndrome include:

Tonic seizures: This is the most common type of seizure that occurs in Ohtahara syndrome. It is characterized by a stiffening of the arms and legs, usually lasting a few seconds. Click here to read the rest of the story.