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What are Salaam Seizures? Symptoms and Treatment

What are Salaam Seizures? Symptoms and Treatment

February 12, 2023
What are Salaam Seizures? Symptoms and Treatment

What are Salaam Seizures?

Salaam seizures are also known as infantile spasms. These are seizures characterized by sudden flexion of the arms, forward flexion of the trunk, extension of the legs, and hypsarrhythmia on electroencephalography. Babies affected by infantile spasms often already have or later have developmental delays or developmental regression. If your baby is experiencing cramps, it is essential to see their healthcare provider as soon as possible. 

The Difference Between Spasms and Seizures

Salaam seizures are a type of seizure. A seizure is a burst of uncontrolled electrical activity between brain cells that causes temporary abnormalities in muscle tone or movements, behaviors, sensations, and states of awareness. Spasms, on the other hand, are typically shorter than most people think of when they think of a tonic-clonic seizure.

What are the Symptoms of Salaam Seizures?

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During the attack, your baby’s body will stiffen or tense up suddenly and only for a couple of seconds. They may also arch their back, arms, legs, or head may bend forward. It often happens one after another in a cluster with five- to 10-second pauses in between spasms. After a spasm or series of spasms, your baby may appear upset or cry. 

In some cases, these are very subtle and difficult to notice. Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Eyes rolling up
  • Belly tensing up
  • Chin movements
  • Grimacing
  • Head nodding

These symptoms are due to an abnormality in your baby’s brain that often affects one side of their body more than the other or may result in pulling their head or eyes to one side. It is most common after your baby wakes up and rarely happens while sleeping. Soon after the attack, you may notice other changes in your baby, including:

  • Loss of developmental milestones such as rolling over, crawling, sitting, and babbling
  • Loss of social interactions and smiling less.
  • Increased fussiness or silence

At What Age Do Salaam Seizure Starts?

Doctors often diagnose infantile spasms in babies younger than 12 months in 90% of cases. The average age of diagnosis is between four and seven months of age. When children who are older than 12 months have invocations resembling infantile spasms, they are typically classified as epileptic spasms. This condition can last around one to two seconds in a series, whereas other types of seizures can last from 30 seconds to two minutes.

What are the Causes of Salaam Seizures?


It can be caused by problems with how the brain develops in the womb, infections, brain injury, or abnormal blood vessels in the brain. It can also be caused by the following:

  1. Birth injuries. Head injury is the most common birth-related injury and is usually minor, but serious injuries sometimes occur. The forces of labor and delivery occasionally cause physical injury to the infant. The incidence of neonatal injury resulting from demanding or traumatic deliveries is decreasing due to the use of cesarean delivery in place of complex versions, vacuum extractions, or mid or high-forceps deliveries.
  2. Metabolic disorders. Most inherited metabolism disorders are rare, and therefore their diagnosis requires a high index of suspicion. A timely diagnosis leads to early treatment and may help avoid acute and chronic complications, developmental compromise, and even death.
  3. Brain malformation. Congenital brain anomalies usually cause severe neurologic deficits, and some may be fatal. Some of the most serious neurologic abnormalities develop in the first two months of gestation and represent defects in neural tube formation.

Treatment for Salaam Seizures

This condition is usually treated with seizure medicines or steroids. A special diet, such as the ketogenic diet, might help if medications do not control the spasms. Sometimes, doctors may recommend surgery.

Doctors also use Primidone for seizures. It is effective in controlling epileptic seizures in adults and children. The drug prevents abnormal electrical activity in the brain and decreases the pain induced by the neurons.

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