Dr Muhammad Saleem Laghari
MBBS(KEMU), MCPS, FCPS (Paeds)
Gold Medalist FCPS-I
Department of pediatrics
SEIZURES OR CONVULSIONS
What is a Seizure
a transient occurrence of signs and/or
symptoms resulting from abnormal excessive
or synchronous neuronal activity in brain.
It is a general term used to include any one of several
possibly single seizure
seizures secondary to metabolic ,infections.
A 1 ½ year old boy brought to emergency department
having convulsions. Temperature of patient was 104oF,
no signs of Meningeal irritation. Patient recover of fit
after treatment, and was discharged from ER after 4
hour. What is most likely diagnosis.
a. Acute Pyomeningitis
c. Cerebral Malaria.
d. febrile seizure
1 year old boy brought to causality in a convulsive state.
Examination of baby revealed Temp 104oF, Anterior
fontanel normal, SOMI –ve, Patient was managed and
after few hours he recovered & became active &
1- What is the most likely diagnosis ?
2- Write 4 steps of management of this child.
3- Mention 4 risk factors for epilepsy in this
1- Febrile fits / Febrile convulsions
2- (i) Maintain A,B,C.
(ii) Measures to control fever
(iii) Measures to control seizures
(iv) Treatment for cause of fever
(v) Counseling of parents and prophylaxis
(i) An abnormal Neurologic status before the
occurrence of seizures (Cerebral palsy, & Mental
(ii) Early onset of febrile seizures
(iii) A family history of epilepsy
(iv) Complex febrile fits.
A 3 year old girl brought in OPD with complaint of fits
(Generalized tonic colonic) since the age of 6 months.
Examination revealed no stigmata of any
neurocutaneous disease. She is not taking any regular
treatment. Her one cousin having seizure disorder and
is under treatment.
1- What is most likely diagnosis?
2- Write 3 investigations to reach final diagnosis?
3- Write 5 principles of anticonvulsant therapy.
2- (i) EEG, (ii) CT Scan Brain, (iii) MRI Brain
3- (i) Treat with the drug appropriate to the clinical
type of epilepsy
(ii) Do not use the anticonvulsant drug used previously
without any success.
(iii) Start with the one drug of choice in appropriate
dosage. Increase the dose until seizures are well
controlled or signs of toxicity appear.
(iv) If seizures are not controlled with one drug of
choice, second drug of choice is added. Do not stop first
drug suddenly. Withdraw it gradually.
Advise the parents and the patient that the therapy
will be prolonged but it will not produce any mental
slowing. Changes in medications or their dosages
should not be made without the advice of the
physician. Sudden withdrawal of anticonvulsants may
precipitate the seizures or even status epilepticus.
Follow up of the patient and periodic neurologic re-
evaluation is important.
If signs of toxicity appear, then reduce the drug by 25%
or add another drug.
Get frequent blood levels of anticonvulsant drugs as
After 2-3 years of fits free interval, consider withdrawal
of the anticonvulsant drug.
Epilepsy is defined as recurrent seizures(2 or
more unprovoked seizures) unrelated to fever
or to an acute cerebral insult in a time frame
of >24 hr.
Febrile convulsions or seizures
Febrile convulsions or seizures are defined as
seizures that occur between 6-60m,
associated with fever(38C or higher),
in the absence of detectable CNS infection,
Or any metabolic imbalance
and occur in the absence of a history of prior
Criteria for febrile convulsions
Age of 6 months to 6 years.
Most febrile seizures occur between
the ages of 12-24 months.
Fever of 38.8oC.
Non-central nervous system
Exclusion to the diagnosis
A history of previous afebrile
CNS infection or inflammation.
Acute systemic metabolic
abnormality causing convulsions.
These are most common
cause of childhood convulsive
occur in 2-5% of children.
These are twice as common in
boys than girls.
Febrile convulsions are simple:
duration less than 15 minutes and
do not recur within 24 hours.
Febrile convulsions are complex:
prolonged more than 15 minutes
and/or recurs within 24 hours period
Febrile Status Epilepticus :when seizure lasting
> 30 minutes.
Some children have a chronic seizure disorder with
more seizures during fever. These are not febrile
seizures, but are referred to as seizures with fever.
More than 90% febrile seizures are generalized, are
less than 5 minutes duration, and occur early in an
illness (e.g. otitis media, pharyngitis, adenitis, or UTI)
A strong family history of febrile convulsions in
siblings and parents suggests a genetic
predisposition(gene on chromosome 19p). An
autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance may be
Complex febrile seizures have more risk of epilepsy
or recurrent non-febrile seizures.
Risk factors for recurrence of febrile
Age < 1yr
Duration of fever <24 hr
Family h/o febrile seizure
Family h/o Epilepsy
Complex febrile seizures
Factors leading to epilepsy in febrile
An abnormal neurologic status before the
occurrence of seizures (e.g. cerebral
palsy, mental retardation)
Early onset of febrile seizures (i.e. before 1 year
A family history of epilepsy
Complex febrile convulsion
. The incidence of epilepsy is >9% when several
risk factors are present, compared with an
incidence of 1% in children who have febrile
convulsions and no risk factors.
A rapid increase in body temperature has
been postulated but exact pathogenesis is
Viral rather than bacterial infections cause
disturbance of cerebral electrical activity.
Febrile convulsions mainly occur between 6 months and 5 years of
age with a peak in the second year.
Fever is thought to trigger seizures in genetically predisposed
children as 30-50% first-degree relatives have a history of febrile
Respiratory infection is the predisposing cause. These are usually
brief, bilateral clonic or tonic-clonic fits.
Sixty to seventy % have single seizure.
prolonged febrile convulsions may cause mesial temporal sclerosis
and may be responsible for later afebrile fits.
Meningitis must be ruled out.
Lumber puncture should be performed in children:
With any suspicion of meningitis.
Under 1 years of age
With a first febrile convulsions
When recovery from a febrile convulsion is slow.
A blood count may help to decide whether to use antibiotics or not.
The child should be hospitalized when meningitis is suspected or
febrile convulsions are severe or multiple.
1. Blood count
2. Lumber puncture if required
3. Blood sugar, calcium, phosphorus, urea
4. An EEG is indicated if febrile seizure is
complicated. EEG should be done at least
a week after the illness to prevent
transient findings in EEG due to fever or
Measures to control fever, and appropriate antibiotics (if a
bacterial illness is suspected or found) are the mainstay of
Lower the temperature
By tepid water sponging and antipyretics like paracetamol
60mg/kg/day in dd.
Control seizure: diazepam
Family should be reassured.
Prolonged Anticonvulsant Prophylaxis
No longer recommended in children
Phenytoin & Carbamazepine
Do not prevent febrile seizures
Prevents recurrenet febrile seizures
Decrease Cognitive function
No longer recommended
These are not generally indicated in uncomplicated
Prophylactic anticonvulsants are indicated.
If febrile seizures are complicated or prolonged.
If medical reassurance fails to relieve the anxiety of
Diazepam is used at the onset of fever and continued
for the duration of the febrile illness.
Alternatively, phenobarbitone 3-5 mg/kg/day is given as
a single dose. It cuts the recurrence by two third and
may be recommended for 2 years in:
Patients under 18 months with abnormal development.
Positive family history of febrile convulsions
Sodium valproate may also be used as a
Phenytoin and carbamazepine are not effective as
prophylaxis of febrile seizures.
It is good in simple febrile convulsions but infant with
complex febrile seizure may develop epilepsy later in
About 6% children develop psychomotor epilepsy
following prolonged unilateral fits before the age of 3
The younger the child, the more likely it is that febrile
convulsions will recur.
About 50-75% of recurrences take place within 1 year of
initial seizure, and about 90% occur within 2 ½ years.
Recurrence is 30% after one febrile seizure & 50% after 2 or
Recurrence rate can be influenced by the intermittent use of
rapid acting anti-epileptic drugs or continuous prophylactic