Lexington, KY - Young children who experience simple febrile seizures, or seizures following a rapid increase in body temperature, do not need to be given anticonvulsant medication. Robert J. Baumann, M.D., professor, Departments of Neurology and Pediatrics, University of Kentucky College of Medicine, and member of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Quality Improvement, Subcommittee on Febrile Seizures, wrote the technical report, "Treatment of the Child with Simple Febrile Seizures," published in the June issue of Pediatrics, which provides detailed information on the studies used to form this recommendation by the AAP.
A simple febrile seizure is a brief (less than 15 minutes), generalized (indicated by symmetrical movements of both sides of the body) seizure in a child 6 months to 5 years old following a rapid increase in body temperature. The recommendations are not intended to apply to children who have meningitis or encephalitis at the time of the seizure.
"Seizures are frightening events, especially for parents who see their toddler have a generalized seizure with jerking of the limbs and foaming from the mouth," Baumann said. "Parents have a natural tendency to assume the worst and may push physicians to do extensive testing and place the child on medication."
Children younger than the age of 1 at the time of their first simple febrile seizure have about a 50 percent chance of having another. Children older than the age of 1 at the time of their first seizure have about a 30 percent chance of a second seizure. Of those that do have a second seizure, 50 percent have a chance of having yet another.
However, this extensive review and an earlier one published in the May
1996 issue of Pediatrics, entitled "Practice Parameter: The Neurodiagnostic
Evaluation of the Child with a First Simple Febrile Seizure," indicate that a
simple febrile seizure is not a harbinger of a life l
Contact: Maureen McArthur
University of Kentucky Medical Center