Genetic testing in a cohort of patients with potential epilepsy with myoclonic-atonic seizures

Katie Angione, Krista Eschbach, Garnett Smith, Charuta Joshi, Scott Demarest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Epilepsy with myoclonic-atonic seizures (EMAS) accounts for 1–2% of all childhood-onset epilepsies. EMAS has been shown to have an underlying genetic component, however the genetics of this disorder is not yet well understood. The purpose of this study was to review genetic testing results for a cohort of EMAS patients. A retrospective chart review was conducted for 77 patients evaluated at Children's Hospital Colorado with a potential diagnosis of EMAS. Genetic testing and biochemical testing was reviewed. Family history data was also collected. Seventy-seven percent of the cohort had at least one genetic test performed, and a molecular diagnosis was reached for six patients. Thirty-seven patients had a microarray, six of which identified a copy number variant. Only one was felt to contribute to the phenotype (2p16.3 deletion including NRXN1). Fifty-one patients had an epilepsy panel, two of which were positive (likely pathogenic variant in SCN1A, pathogenic variant in GABRG2). Of the six patients who had whole exome sequencing, two were negative, three were positive or likely positive, and one had multiple variants not felt to explain the phenotype. While EMAS is widely accepted to have a strong genetic component, the diagnostic yield of genetic testing remains low. This may be because several genes now thought to be associated with EMAS are not included on the more commonly ordered epilepsy panels, or have only recently been added to them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-77
Number of pages8
JournalEpilepsy Research
StatePublished - Feb 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Doose
  • Epilepsy
  • Genetics
  • Myoclonic atonic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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