INTRODUCTION: Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep has an inhibitory effect on epileptiform EEG discharges, and seizures occur extremely rarely in REM sleep.
CASE STUDY: We present the case and video recordings of a 10-year-old boy, with sleep-related hypermotor seizures starting from REM sleep, identified from videoEEG recordings. The semiology comprised intense fear, tachycardia, tachypnea, followed by hypermotor manifestations. Further investigations included brain MRI and source localization of the EEG signals. Multiple antiepileptic drugs were tried, the patient obtaining a good control of the seizures in the last 2.5 years with eslicarbazepine.
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: The ictal EEG source imaging showed seizure onset in the anterior part of the right insula, with propagation to the orbitofrontal area, confirmed by the semiological sequence. Although rare, focal seizures can be triggered by REM sleep and our findings suggest that deficient maturation of brain areas involved in sleep modulation might induce insufficient desynchronization during REM sleep, thus allowing seizure emergence.