Febrile seizure

From Academic Kids

A febrile seizure, also known as a fever fit or febrile convulsion is a generalized convulsion caused by elevated body temperature. They most commonly occur in children below the age of three years old and should not be diagnosed in children under the age of 6 months or over the age of 6 years. The cause is the rapidity of the rise in temperature, rather than the actual temperature reached.

The diagnosis is one that must be arrived at by eliminating more serious causes of seizure: in particular, meningitis must be ruled out. Therefore a doctor's opinon should be sought and in many cases the child would be admitted to hospital overnight for observation and/or tests.

It is reassuring if the cause of seizure can indeed be determined to have been fever, as febrile seizures generally do not cause permanent brain injury; do not tend to recur frequently, as children tend to 'out-grow' them; and do not make the development of adult epilepsy more likely.

Children with febrile convulsions who are destined to suffer from afebrile epileptic attacks in the future will usually exhibit the following:

  • A family history of afebrile convulsions in first degree relatives (a parent or sibling)
  • A pre-convulsion history of abnormal neurological signs or developmental delay
  • A febrile convulsion lasting longer than 15 minutes
  • A febrile convulsion with strong indications of focal features before, during or afterward

References

  1. Wilkinson, I.M.S. Neurology. Blackwell Science. ISBN 0865428549
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