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Seizures in Children

Seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures occur when uncontrolled excessive synchronous neuronal activity in the brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification causes sudden transient changes in motor Motor Neurons which send impulses peripherally to activate muscles or secretory cells. Nervous System: Histology function, sensation, behavior, or mental status. Seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures are classified primarily as generalized or focal and may occur once or be recurrent ( epilepsy Epilepsy Epilepsy is a chronic brain disorder marked by recurrent and unprovoked seizures. These seizures can be classified as focal or generalized and idiopathic or secondary to another condition. Clinical presentation correlates to the classification of the epileptic disorder. Epilepsy). Prolonged or recurrent seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures lasting > 30 minutes are called status epilepticus Status Epilepticus A prolonged seizure or seizures repeated frequently enough to prevent recovery between episodes occurring over a period of 20-30 minutes. The most common subtype is generalized tonic-clonic status epilepticus, a potentially fatal condition associated with neuronal injury and respiratory and metabolic dysfunction. Nonconvulsive forms include petit mal status and complex partial status, which may manifest as behavioral disturbances. Simple partial status epilepticus consists of persistent motor, sensory, or autonomic seizures that do not impair cognition. Subclinical status epilepticus generally refers to seizures occurring in an unresponsive or comatose individual in the absence of overt signs of seizure activity. Seizures. Diagnosis depends on thorough history, physical exam, and EEG EEG Seizures findings. Treatment is directed at the underlying trigger Trigger The type of signal that initiates the inspiratory phase by the ventilator Invasive Mechanical Ventilation, and medications are administered as necessary. Most children that seize recover without any sequelae, but prognosis Prognosis A prediction of the probable outcome of a disease based on a individual's condition and the usual course of the disease as seen in similar situations. Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas depends on the initial cause and the presence of underlying neurologic pathology.

Last updated: 27 Apr, 2021

Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

Overview

Definition

A seizure is an abnormal, excessive, and hypersynchronous firing of neurons Neurons The basic cellular units of nervous tissue. Each neuron consists of a body, an axon, and dendrites. Their purpose is to receive, conduct, and transmit impulses in the nervous system. Nervous System: Histology in the brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification.

  • Acute symptomatic or provoked seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures:
    • Occur secondary to alterations of the brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification’s excitability Excitability Skeletal Muscle Contraction
    • 2 main categories:
      • Structural: head injury, stroke, meningitis Meningitis Meningitis is inflammation of the meninges, the protective membranes of the brain, and spinal cord. The causes of meningitis are varied, with the most common being bacterial or viral infection. The classic presentation of meningitis is a triad of fever, altered mental status, and nuchal rigidity. Meningitis
      • Metabolic or toxic: electrolyte imbalance, poisoning
    • Occur within a week of inciting cause
  • Unprovoked seizures Unprovoked Seizures Seizures
    • Occur in absence of specific cause
    • If recurrent, defined as epilepsy Epilepsy Epilepsy is a chronic brain disorder marked by recurrent and unprovoked seizures. These seizures can be classified as focal or generalized and idiopathic or secondary to another condition. Clinical presentation correlates to the classification of the epileptic disorder. Epilepsy
  • Reflex seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures:
    • Occur in response to a precipitating stimulus
    • Stimulus may be external, internal, or both:
      • External: flashing lights, auditory, tactile
      • Internal: emotions, thinking, calculations, or other cerebral functions
      • Sleep Sleep A readily reversible suspension of sensorimotor interaction with the environment, usually associated with recumbency and immobility. Physiology of Sleep deprivation, emotional stress, and menstrual cycle Cycle The type of signal that ends the inspiratory phase delivered by the ventilator Invasive Mechanical Ventilation are not considered triggering precipitants of epilepsy Epilepsy Epilepsy is a chronic brain disorder marked by recurrent and unprovoked seizures. These seizures can be classified as focal or generalized and idiopathic or secondary to another condition. Clinical presentation correlates to the classification of the epileptic disorder. Epilepsy.
  • Recurrent seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures: childhood epilepsy Epilepsy Epilepsy is a chronic brain disorder marked by recurrent and unprovoked seizures. These seizures can be classified as focal or generalized and idiopathic or secondary to another condition. Clinical presentation correlates to the classification of the epileptic disorder. Epilepsy
    • Risk factors for development of epilepsy Epilepsy Epilepsy is a chronic brain disorder marked by recurrent and unprovoked seizures. These seizures can be classified as focal or generalized and idiopathic or secondary to another condition. Clinical presentation correlates to the classification of the epileptic disorder. Epilepsy:
      • Perinatal infections Infections Invasion of the host organism by microorganisms or their toxins or by parasites that can cause pathological conditions or diseases. Chronic Granulomatous Disease 
      • Prematurity Prematurity Neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome
      • Hypoxic–ischemic injury Hypoxic–Ischemic Injury Persistent Vegetative State at birth
      • Family history Family History Adult Health Maintenance of seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures
      • History of febrile seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures
      • History of meningitis Meningitis Meningitis is inflammation of the meninges, the protective membranes of the brain, and spinal cord. The causes of meningitis are varied, with the most common being bacterial or viral infection. The classic presentation of meningitis is a triad of fever, altered mental status, and nuchal rigidity. Meningitis/ encephalitis Encephalitis Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain parenchyma caused by an infection, usually viral. Encephalitis may present with mild symptoms such as headache, fever, fatigue, and muscle and joint pain or with severe symptoms such as seizures, altered consciousness, and paralysis. Encephalitis 
      • Head trauma Head trauma Head trauma occurs when external forces are directed to the skull and brain structures, resulting in damage to the skull, brain, and intracranial structures. Head injuries can be classified as open (penetrating) or closed (blunt), and primary (from the initial trauma) or secondary (indirect brain injury), and range from mild to severe and life-threatening. Head Trauma

Epidemiology

  • Affect Affect The feeling-tone accompaniment of an idea or mental representation. It is the most direct psychic derivative of instinct and the psychic representative of the various bodily changes by means of which instincts manifest themselves. Psychiatric Assessment 1% of the population
  • Higher prevalence Prevalence The total number of cases of a given disease in a specified population at a designated time. It is differentiated from incidence, which refers to the number of new cases in the population at a given time. Measures of Disease Frequency in rural areas and underdeveloped countries
  • Highest incidence Incidence The number of new cases of a given disease during a given period in a specified population. It also is used for the rate at which new events occur in a defined population. It is differentiated from prevalence, which refers to all cases in the population at a given time. Measures of Disease Frequency in 1st year of life and decline to adult levels by ages 10–11 years
  • Febrile seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures affect Affect The feeling-tone accompaniment of an idea or mental representation. It is the most direct psychic derivative of instinct and the psychic representative of the various bodily changes by means of which instincts manifest themselves. Psychiatric Assessment 4%–10% of the population.
  • Only 15% of children who have a 1st seizure will have another in the next year.

Classification

Separating seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures into different types guides testing, treatment, and prognosis Prognosis A prediction of the probable outcome of a disease based on a individual’s condition and the usual course of the disease as seen in similar situations. Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas. The classification system was revised in 2017 by the International League Against Epilepsy Epilepsy Epilepsy is a chronic brain disorder marked by recurrent and unprovoked seizures. These seizures can be classified as focal or generalized and idiopathic or secondary to another condition. Clinical presentation correlates to the classification of the epileptic disorder. Epilepsy and is now based on 3 key features: where the seizure begins in the brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification, level of awareness during the seizure, and other features of seizure.

  • Location-based:
    • Generalized: begins in both sides of the brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification
    • Focal (formerly called “partial”): begins in 1 area of the brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification
    • Unknown: Area of onset of seizure is unknown.
    • Focal to bilateral: begins in 1 area of the brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification and spreads to both sides (formerly called “secondary generalized”)
  • Level of awareness:
    • Focal aware (formerly called “simple partial”): conscious even if unresponsive during seizure
    • Focal impaired awareness (formerly called “complex partial”): if during seizure there is any diminished awareness or impaired consciousness
    • Awareness unknown: if unable to be determined
    • Generalized seizures Generalized Seizures Seizures are all presumed to cause a diminished level of consciousness.
  • Other features:
    • Automatisms or other movements during seizure
    • Changes in sensation, thinking, or emotions prior to seizure (formerly called “ aura Aura Reversible neurological phenomena that often precede or coincide with headache onset. Migraine Headache”)
    • The specific term “ aura Aura Reversible neurological phenomena that often precede or coincide with headache onset. Migraine Headache” has been removed from the new classification system.

Etiology

  • Most common:
    • Fever Fever Fever is defined as a measured body temperature of at least 38°C (100.4°F). Fever is caused by circulating endogenous and/or exogenous pyrogens that increase levels of prostaglandin E2 in the hypothalamus. Fever is commonly associated with chills, rigors, sweating, and flushing of the skin. Fever
    • Genetic 
    • Head injury 
    • Infections Infections Invasion of the host organism by microorganisms or their toxins or by parasites that can cause pathological conditions or diseases. Chronic Granulomatous Disease of the brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification and its coverings
    • Lack of oxygen to the brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification
    • Hydrocephalus Hydrocephalus Excessive accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid within the cranium which may be associated with dilation of cerebral ventricles, intracranial. Subarachnoid Hemorrhage 
    • Disorders of brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification development
    • Metabolic disorders or inborn errors of metabolism
    • Toxins and poisoning
  • Less common: 
    • Brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification tumors or cysts Cysts Any fluid-filled closed cavity or sac that is lined by an epithelium. Cysts can be of normal, abnormal, non-neoplastic, or neoplastic tissues. Fibrocystic Change
    • Degenerative disorders
  • Many are benign Benign Fibroadenoma, will not continue into adulthood, and have no long-term effect on child’s development and intellect Intellect Psychiatric Assessment is normal.

Mnemonic

“The hypos cause seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures”:

  • Hypocalcemia Hypocalcemia Hypocalcemia, a serum calcium < 8.5 mg/dL, can result from various conditions. The causes may include hypoparathyroidism, drugs, disorders leading to vitamin D deficiency, and more. Calcium levels are regulated and affected by different elements such as dietary intake, parathyroid hormone (PTH), vitamin D, pH, and albumin. Presentation can range from an asymptomatic (mild deficiency) to a life-threatening condition (acute, significant deficiency). Hypocalcemia
  • Hypoglycemia Hypoglycemia Hypoglycemia is an emergency condition defined as a serum glucose level ≤ 70 mg/dL (≤ 3.9 mmol/L) in diabetic patients. In nondiabetic patients, there is no specific or defined limit for normal serum glucose levels, and hypoglycemia is defined mainly by its clinical features. Hypoglycemia
  • Hyponatremia Hyponatremia Hyponatremia is defined as a decreased serum sodium (sNa+) concentration less than 135 mmol/L. Serum sodium is the greatest contributor to plasma osmolality, which is very tightly controlled via antidiuretic hormone (ADH) release from the hypothalamus and by the thirst mechanism. Hyponatremia
  • Hypomagnesemia Hypomagnesemia A nutritional condition produced by a deficiency of magnesium in the diet, characterized by anorexia, nausea, vomiting, lethargy, and weakness. Symptoms are paresthesias, muscle cramps, irritability, decreased attention span, and mental confusion, possibly requiring months to appear. Deficiency of body magnesium can exist even when serum values are normal. In addition, magnesium deficiency may be organ-selective, since certain tissues become deficient before others. Electrolytes

Status epilepticus Status Epilepticus A prolonged seizure or seizures repeated frequently enough to prevent recovery between episodes occurring over a period of 20-30 minutes. The most common subtype is generalized tonic-clonic status epilepticus, a potentially fatal condition associated with neuronal injury and respiratory and metabolic dysfunction. Nonconvulsive forms include petit mal status and complex partial status, which may manifest as behavioral disturbances. Simple partial status epilepticus consists of persistent motor, sensory, or autonomic seizures that do not impair cognition. Subclinical status epilepticus generally refers to seizures occurring in an unresponsive or comatose individual in the absence of overt signs of seizure activity. Seizures

Definition:

  • Seizure lasting > 5 minutes or when seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures occur close together without return to normal level of awareness after the 1st seizure
  • Repeated seizure for ≥ 30 minutes
  • Types:
    • Convulsive
    • Nonconvulsive

Clinical findings:

  • Different neurologic symptoms depending on where in the brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification the seizure originated
  • Alteration of vital signs and/or respiratory suppression Suppression Defense Mechanisms
  • Postictal Postictal Period after the seizure episode during which the individual is disoriented. Seizures period in generalized seizures Generalized Seizures Seizures.
  • Todd’s paralysis: period of paralysis following seizure
  • Requires emergent medical treatment because condition is life-threatening

Treatment:

Generalized Seizures

Febrile seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures

  • Definition:  
    • A generalized convulsive episode in the context of febrile disease (> 38°C)
    • Classification:
      • Simple: last < 15 minutes and/or have no recurrence in 24 hours
      • Complex: last > 15 minutes and/or reoccur within the next 24 hours
  • Epidemiology:
    • Most common cause of seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures in children
    • Occur in children between 6 months and 6 years of age
    • Peak incidence Incidence The number of new cases of a given disease during a given period in a specified population. It also is used for the rate at which new events occur in a defined population. It is differentiated from prevalence, which refers to all cases in the population at a given time. Measures of Disease Frequency: 12–18 months
    • 25% recurrence rate if over 1 year of age at 1st event
    • 50% recurrence rate if < 12 months of age at 1st event
    • Most common causes: viral infection, postvaccination
  • Diagnosis:  
    • Requires detailed history
    • Determine whether the episode meets the criteria for simple or complex classification.
  • Treatment:
    • Treat the fever Fever Fever is defined as a measured body temperature of at least 38°C (100.4°F). Fever is caused by circulating endogenous and/or exogenous pyrogens that increase levels of prostaglandin E2 in the hypothalamus. Fever is commonly associated with chills, rigors, sweating, and flushing of the skin. Fever
    • Look for underlying cause of fever Fever Fever is defined as a measured body temperature of at least 38°C (100.4°F). Fever is caused by circulating endogenous and/or exogenous pyrogens that increase levels of prostaglandin E2 in the hypothalamus. Fever is commonly associated with chills, rigors, sweating, and flushing of the skin. Fever.
    • Verify appropriate dosing of antipyretic Antipyretic Acetaminophen with caregiver.
    • Counsel parents on what to do if seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures recur.
    • Use antiepileptic drugs if:
      • Seizure continues ( status epilepticus Status Epilepticus A prolonged seizure or seizures repeated frequently enough to prevent recovery between episodes occurring over a period of 20-30 minutes. The most common subtype is generalized tonic-clonic status epilepticus, a potentially fatal condition associated with neuronal injury and respiratory and metabolic dysfunction. Nonconvulsive forms include petit mal status and complex partial status, which may manifest as behavioral disturbances. Simple partial status epilepticus consists of persistent motor, sensory, or autonomic seizures that do not impair cognition. Subclinical status epilepticus generally refers to seizures occurring in an unresponsive or comatose individual in the absence of overt signs of seizure activity. Seizures)
      • Fever Fever Fever is defined as a measured body temperature of at least 38°C (100.4°F). Fever is caused by circulating endogenous and/or exogenous pyrogens that increase levels of prostaglandin E2 in the hypothalamus. Fever is commonly associated with chills, rigors, sweating, and flushing of the skin. Fever cannot be controlled
  • Complications:
    • Recurrence is common. 
    • Higher risk of recurrence if:
      • 1st seizure resulted from a low-grade fever Low-Grade Fever Erythema Infectiosum
      • Seizure was the 1st sign of illness
      • Immediate family member has history of febrile seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures
      • Child < 18 months old at time of 1st febrile seizure
      • Child had history of developmental issues prior to seizure
    • Complex febrile seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures increase the chance of developing epilepsy Epilepsy Epilepsy is a chronic brain disorder marked by recurrent and unprovoked seizures. These seizures can be classified as focal or generalized and idiopathic or secondary to another condition. Clinical presentation correlates to the classification of the epileptic disorder. Epilepsy.
  • Prognosis Prognosis A prediction of the probable outcome of a disease based on a individual’s condition and the usual course of the disease as seen in similar situations. Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas: Majority resolve without any neurologic sequelae unless seizure is focal or prolonged or child has other neurologic abnormalities.

Absence seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures

  • Definition: brief period of unresponsiveness 
    • Last about 4–30 seconds
    • Occur multiple times per day
    • Symptoms:
      • Staring
      • Eye fluttering
      • Pallor
    • No incontinence, aura Aura Reversible neurological phenomena that often precede or coincide with headache onset. Migraine Headache, or postictal Postictal Period after the seizure episode during which the individual is disoriented. Seizures state
  • Epidemiology:
    • Generally ages 4–12 years
    • Peak age: 5–7 years
    • 60% have complete resolution of seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures by adolescence.
  • Classification: based on seizure characteristics and EEG EEG Seizures pattern
    • Typical: sudden onset, brief duration with characteristic EEG EEG Seizures
    • Atypical: insidious onset and resolution of symptoms with slower EEG EEG Seizures pattern
  • Diagnosis: classic 3-Hz spike-and-wave discharges
  • Treatment: anticonvulsant Anticonvulsant Anticonvulsant drugs are pharmacological agents used to achieve seizure control and/or prevent seizure episodes. Anticonvulsants encompass various drugs with different mechanisms of action including ion-channel (Na+ and Ca+2) blocking and GABA reuptake inhibition. First-Generation Anticonvulsant Drugs medication
Eeg showing interictal spikes and polyspikes - tonic clonic seizure

EEG EEG Seizures showing interictal spikes and polyspikes: tonic–clonic generalized seizure

Image: “EEG showing interictal spikes and polyspikes” by Central Military Emergency University Hospital, “Dr Carol Davila” Department of Neurology, Calea Plevnei 134, Bucharest, Romania. License: CC BY 2.0

Myoclonic seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures

  • Brief, jerking spasms Spasms An involuntary contraction of a muscle or group of muscles. Spasms may involve skeletal muscle or smooth muscle. Ion Channel Myopathy of a muscle or muscle group
  • No loss of awareness
  • Often occur with atonic seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures
  • Associated epileptic syndromes:
    • Infantile spasms Spasms An involuntary contraction of a muscle or group of muscles. Spasms may involve skeletal muscle or smooth muscle. Ion Channel Myopathy
    • Lennox–Gastaut syndrome

Atonic seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures (“drop attacks”)

  • Characterized by sudden loss of muscle tone Muscle tone The state of activity or tension of a muscle beyond that related to its physical properties, that is, its active resistance to stretch. In skeletal muscle, tonus is dependent upon efferent innervation. Skeletal Muscle Contraction
  • When there is total lack of muscle tone Muscle tone The state of activity or tension of a muscle beyond that related to its physical properties, that is, its active resistance to stretch. In skeletal muscle, tonus is dependent upon efferent innervation. Skeletal Muscle Contraction, body falls and additional injury may be sustained.
  • Consciousness is impaired during the fall.
  • Often associated with myoclonic seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures
  • Rare
  • Treated with anticonvulsants, nerve stimulation, diet therapy

Tonic seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures

  • Body, arms, or legs suddenly become stiff or tense.
  • Fully aware or mild change in awareness during seizure
  • Involve both sides of brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification and, therefore, affect Affect The feeling-tone accompaniment of an idea or mental representation. It is the most direct psychic derivative of instinct and the psychic representative of the various bodily changes by means of which instincts manifest themselves. Psychiatric Assessment both sides of body
  • Short duration: < 20 seconds
  • Typically occur during sleep Sleep A readily reversible suspension of sensorimotor interaction with the environment, usually associated with recumbency and immobility. Physiology of Sleep
  • Common in children with Lennox–Gastaut syndrome
  • Diagnosed with MRI and/or EEG EEG Seizures
  • Treated with anticonvulsants, nerve stimulation, diet therapy
Eeg showing absence seizure

A: Bilateral synchronous regular Regular Insulin 3-Hz spike-and-wave discharges in proband Proband Basic Terms of Genetics 1 lasting for 15 seconds and associated with clinical absence seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures
B: Absence seizure in proband Proband Basic Terms of Genetics 2 lasting for 4 seconds
C: Spike-and-wave discharges lasting for 3 seconds in proband Proband Basic Terms of Genetics 4: This proband Proband Basic Terms of Genetics was affected by absence status lasting for > 6 hours.

Image: “ EEG EEG Seizures recordings of 15q13.3 microdeletion carriers Carriers The Cell: Cell Membrane” by Department of Neuropediatrics, University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein, Christian-Albrechts University, Kiel, Germany. License: CC BY 2.5

Focal Seizures

  • Definition:
    • Seizure activity involving 1 area of the brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification
    • Formerly known as “partial seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures
  • Classification:
    • Level of awareness: preserved versus impaired 
    • Motor Motor Neurons which send impulses peripherally to activate muscles or secretory cells. Nervous System: Histology versus nonmotor
  • Focal with preserved awareness:
    • Formerly known as “simple partial seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures
    • Start in 1 part of the brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification while child is aware
    • Brief: last < 2 minutes
    • Motor Motor Neurons which send impulses peripherally to activate muscles or secretory cells. Nervous System: Histology most common
    • Jacksonian march:
      • Occur on 1 side of the body
      • Progress in a predictable pattern
      • Start as twitching or a tingling Tingling Posterior Cord Syndrome sensation or weakness in a finger, a big toe, or the corner of the mouth, then march over a few seconds to the all of the hand Hand The hand constitutes the distal part of the upper limb and provides the fine, precise movements needed in activities of daily living. It consists of 5 metacarpal bones and 14 phalanges, as well as numerous muscles innervated by the median and ulnar nerves. Hand: Anatomy, foot Foot The foot is the terminal portion of the lower limb, whose primary function is to bear weight and facilitate locomotion. The foot comprises 26 bones, including the tarsal bones, metatarsal bones, and phalanges. The bones of the foot form longitudinal and transverse arches and are supported by various muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Foot: Anatomy, or facial muscles Facial muscles The facial muscles (also called mimetic muscles) control facial expression and are supplied by the facial nerve. Most of them originate from the skull and attach to the skin around the facial openings, which serve as a method to group or classify them. Facial Muscles: Anatomy
  • Focal with impaired awareness:
    • Formerly known as “complex partial seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures
    • Start in 1 area or side of the brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification with loss of awareness
    • Brief: last 1–2 minutes
    • Preceded by aura Aura Reversible neurological phenomena that often precede or coincide with headache onset. Migraine Headache
    • Automatism:
      • Lip smacking
      • Chewing
      • Bicycle leg Leg The lower leg, or just “leg” in anatomical terms, is the part of the lower limb between the knee and the ankle joint. The bony structure is composed of the tibia and fibula bones, and the muscles of the leg are grouped into the anterior, lateral, and posterior compartments by extensions of fascia. Leg: Anatomy movements
  • Focal to bilateral tonic–clonic:
    • Formerly known as “secondary generalized seizures Generalized Seizures Seizures
    • Start in 1 area of the brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification and then rapidly spread to both sides of brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification
    • May begin with aura Aura Reversible neurological phenomena that often precede or coincide with headache onset. Migraine Headache
    • 30% of children with focal seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures
    • Tonic–clonic portion is brief, lasting < 3 minutes.
    • Postictal Postictal Period after the seizure episode during which the individual is disoriented. Seizures period
  • Diagnosis:
  • Treatment:
    • Anticonvulsants
    • Implanted electrical devices
    • Ketogenic diet
    • Surgery

Epileptic Syndromes

Infantile spasms Spasms An involuntary contraction of a muscle or group of muscles. Spasms may involve skeletal muscle or smooth muscle. Ion Channel Myopathy ( West syndrome West syndrome An epileptic syndrome characterized by the triad of infantile spasms, hypsarrhythmia, and arrest of psychomotor development at seizure onset. The majority present between 3-12 months of age, with spasms consisting of combinations of brief flexor or extensor movements of the head, trunk, and limbs. The condition is divided into two forms: cryptogenic (idiopathic) and symptomatic (secondary to a known disease process such as intrauterine infections; nervous system abnormalities; brain diseases, metabolic, inborn; prematurity; perinatal asphyxia; tuberous sclerosis; etc.). Epilepsy)

  • With activity, occur in clusters every 5–10 seconds over 5–10 minutes
  • Clusters often confused with colic because infant cries or is irritable during event
  • EEG EEG Seizures shows classic hypsarrhythmia pattern.
  • Generalized seizure primarily in infant
  • Brief movements of the neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess, trunk, and limbs 
  • Poor prognosis Prognosis A prediction of the probable outcome of a disease based on a individual’s condition and the usual course of the disease as seen in similar situations. Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas:
    • Profound cognitive effects
    • May resolve by preschool years, but other seizure types develop

Neonatal seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures

  • Neonatal period is the most vulnerable for developing seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures 
  • More common in preterm infants
  • 80% occur in 1st week of life.
  • Usually clinically subtle
  • No postictal Postictal Period after the seizure episode during which the individual is disoriented. Seizures state
  • Hypoxic–ischemic encephalopathy Encephalopathy Hyper-IgM Syndrome is the most common cause.
  • Development of subsequent epileptic syndrome is rare.

Benign Benign Fibroadenoma Rolandic epilepsy Epilepsy Epilepsy is a chronic brain disorder marked by recurrent and unprovoked seizures. These seizures can be classified as focal or generalized and idiopathic or secondary to another condition. Clinical presentation correlates to the classification of the epileptic disorder. Epilepsy

  • Also called “ benign Benign Fibroadenoma epilepsy Epilepsy Epilepsy is a chronic brain disorder marked by recurrent and unprovoked seizures. These seizures can be classified as focal or generalized and idiopathic or secondary to another condition. Clinical presentation correlates to the classification of the epileptic disorder. Epilepsy with centrotemporal spikes”
  • Focal aware type of seizure:
    • When child awake, twitching, numbness, or tingling Tingling Posterior Cord Syndrome on 1 side of face or tongue Tongue The tongue, on the other hand, is a complex muscular structure that permits tasting and facilitates the process of mastication and communication. The blood supply of the tongue originates from the external carotid artery, and the innervation is through cranial nerves. Lips and Tongue: Anatomy
    • No impairment of awareness
  • 15% of all epileptic episodes in children
  • Begin 6–12 years of age
  • Boys more often affected
  • Usually occurs during sleep Sleep A readily reversible suspension of sensorimotor interaction with the environment, usually associated with recumbency and immobility. Physiology of Sleep and evolves to involve both sides of body
  • Self-resolves by adolescence

Lennox–Gastaut syndrome

  • Severe form of epilepsy Epilepsy Epilepsy is a chronic brain disorder marked by recurrent and unprovoked seizures. These seizures can be classified as focal or generalized and idiopathic or secondary to another condition. Clinical presentation correlates to the classification of the epileptic disorder. Epilepsy beginning in early childhood, usually before age 4 years
  • Multiple types of seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures; most commonly:
    • Tonic
    • Atypical absence
    • Atonic
    • Myoclonic
    • Generalized tonic–clonic
  • Majority have prolonged seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures ( status epilepticus Status Epilepticus A prolonged seizure or seizures repeated frequently enough to prevent recovery between episodes occurring over a period of 20-30 minutes. The most common subtype is generalized tonic-clonic status epilepticus, a potentially fatal condition associated with neuronal injury and respiratory and metabolic dysfunction. Nonconvulsive forms include petit mal status and complex partial status, which may manifest as behavioral disturbances. Simple partial status epilepticus consists of persistent motor, sensory, or autonomic seizures that do not impair cognition. Subclinical status epilepticus generally refers to seizures occurring in an unresponsive or comatose individual in the absence of overt signs of seizure activity. Seizures).
  • Associated cognitive impairment, developmental delay, and behavioral disturbances
  • Multiple causes; ⅓ have unknown cause
  • EEG EEG Seizures pattern: slow spike and wave
  • Poor prognosis Prognosis A prediction of the probable outcome of a disease based on a individual’s condition and the usual course of the disease as seen in similar situations. Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas
Eeg of a child with lennox–gastaut syndrome

EEG EEG Seizures of a child with Lennox–Gastaut syndrome

Image: “24 hour prolonged digital video EEG EEG Seizures” by Max Superspecialty Hospital, Saket, New Delhi, India. License: CC BY 2.0

Evaluation

1st seizure:

  • Initial assessment of airway Airway ABCDE Assessment, breathing, and circulation Circulation The movement of the blood as it is pumped through the cardiovascular system. ABCDE Assessment
  • Determine if child is actively seizing, postictal Postictal Period after the seizure episode during which the individual is disoriented. Seizures, or at baseline mental status.
  • Establish IV access and administer rescue anticonvulsant Anticonvulsant Anticonvulsant drugs are pharmacological agents used to achieve seizure control and/or prevent seizure episodes. Anticonvulsants encompass various drugs with different mechanisms of action including ion-channel (Na+ and Ca+2) blocking and GABA reuptake inhibition. First-Generation Anticonvulsant Drugs medication if actively seizing.
  • Obtain vital signs to determine if febrile seizure is likely and to evaluate blood pressure ( shock Shock Shock is a life-threatening condition associated with impaired circulation that results in tissue hypoxia. The different types of shock are based on the underlying cause: distributive (↑ cardiac output (CO), ↓ systemic vascular resistance (SVR)), cardiogenic (↓ CO, ↑ SVR), hypovolemic (↓ CO, ↑ SVR), obstructive (↓ CO), and mixed. Types of Shock).
  • Obtaining a thorough history can assist with determining underlying cause, determining whether activity meets criteria for seizure, and classifying type of seizure:
    • Events surrounding suspected seizure
    • Length of seizure (if not actively seizing)
    • Specific movements or staring
    • Bowel or bladder Bladder A musculomembranous sac along the urinary tract. Urine flows from the kidneys into the bladder via the ureters, and is held there until urination. Pyelonephritis and Perinephric Abscess incontinence
    • Loss of awareness during event
    • Postictal Postictal Period after the seizure episode during which the individual is disoriented. Seizures state
  • Keep in mind life-threatening causes and address immediately:
    • Meningitis Meningitis Meningitis is inflammation of the meninges, the protective membranes of the brain, and spinal cord. The causes of meningitis are varied, with the most common being bacterial or viral infection. The classic presentation of meningitis is a triad of fever, altered mental status, and nuchal rigidity. Meningitis
    • Sepsis Sepsis Systemic inflammatory response syndrome with a proven or suspected infectious etiology. When sepsis is associated with organ dysfunction distant from the site of infection, it is called severe sepsis. When sepsis is accompanied by hypotension despite adequate fluid infusion, it is called septic shock. Sepsis and Septic Shock
    • Head trauma Head trauma Head trauma occurs when external forces are directed to the skull and brain structures, resulting in damage to the skull, brain, and intracranial structures. Head injuries can be classified as open (penetrating) or closed (blunt), and primary (from the initial trauma) or secondary (indirect brain injury), and range from mild to severe and life-threatening. Head Trauma
    • Accidental or intentional intoxication
  • Perform thorough physical examination:
    • Look for signs of trauma.
    • Fundoscopic exam Fundoscopic Exam Head and Neck Examination:
      • Papilledema Papilledema Swelling of the optic disk, usually in association with increased intracranial pressure, characterized by hyperemia, blurring of the disk margins, microhemorrhages, blind spot enlargement, and engorgement of retinal veins. Chronic papilledema may cause optic atrophy and visual loss. Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension  
      • Retinal hemorrhages
      • Chorioretinitis Chorioretinitis Chorioretinitis is the inflammation of the posterior segment of the eye, including the choroid and the retina. The condition is usually caused by infections, the most common of which is toxoplasmosis. Some of these infections can affect the fetus in utero and present as congenital abnormalities. Chorioretinitis
    • Neurologic examination:
      • Hemiparesis Hemiparesis The term hemiparesis refers to mild to moderate weakness involving one side of the body. Epidural Hemorrhage with hyperreflexia
      • Positive Babinski sign Babinski sign A reflex found in normal infants consisting of dorsiflexion of the hallux and abduction of the other toes in response to cutaneous stimulation of the plantar surface of the foot. In adults, it is used as a diagnostic criterion, and if present is a neurologic manifestation of dysfunction in the central nervous system. Posterior Cord Syndrome
  • Laboratory testing:
    • CMP
    • CBC 
    • Blood gas
    • Electrocardiography Electrocardiography Recording of the moment-to-moment electromotive forces of the heart as projected onto various sites on the body’s surface, delineated as a scalar function of time. The recording is monitored by a tracing on slow moving chart paper or by observing it on a cardioscope, which is a cathode ray tube display. Electrocardiogram (ECG): long-QT syndrome
    • EEG EEG Seizures: 
      • In all cases of unprovoked, nonfebrile seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures
      • May determine underlying cause 
      • Patient must be stable.
    • CT allows for rapid study of trauma and masses.
    • MRI is preferred over CT for more careful studies.

Management

Treatment is based on a variety of factors. Not every child who has a seizure will have another one; therefore, treatment may be unnecessary until there is recurrence. The ultimate goal of treatment is to stop seizure activity while minimizing harmful side effects.

Medication

  • Anticonvulsants:
    • Many options: depend on type of seizure, frequency, age
    • Often need to try multiple medications before stabilization or optimal side effect management
  • Cannabidiol Cannabidiol Compound isolated from cannabis sativa extract. Cannabinoids:
    • Recently FDA-approved for children age ≥ 2 years
    • Treats only certain types of seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures

Dietary therapy

  • Ketogenic diet:
    • High in fat, low in carbohydrates Carbohydrates A class of organic compounds composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen in a ratio of cn(H2O)n. The largest class of organic compounds, including starch; glycogen; cellulose; polysaccharides; and simple monosaccharides. Basics of Carbohydrates
    • Very restrictive
  • Variations on ketogenic diet under study

Surgery

  • Best option for seizures Seizures A seizure is abnormal electrical activity of the neurons in the cerebral cortex that can manifest in numerous ways depending on the region of the brain affected. Seizures consist of a sudden imbalance that occurs between the excitatory and inhibitory signals in cortical neurons, creating a net excitation. The 2 major classes of seizures are focal and generalized. Seizures originating in the same place in the brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification
  • Types of procedures:
    • Lobectomy
    • Corpus callosotomy
    • Hemispherectomy
    • Thermal ablation

Electrical stimulation

  • Implanted device that sends signals to brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification to inhibit seizure activity
  • May be located in chest, on brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification surface, or deep within brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification tissue

References

  1. The Johns Hopkins Hospital Lauren Kahl Helen Hughes. (2018). Seizures: first and recurrent. In The Harriet Lane Handbook, 21st ed. Elsevier, pp. 555–564.
  2. Epilepsy Foundation. (2017). Revised Classification of Seizures. Retrieved April 1, 2021, from www.epilepsy.com.
  3. Camfield P, Camfield C. (2015). Incidence, prevalence, and etiology of seizures and epilepsy in children. In Epileptic Disorders, pp. 117–123. Retrieved April 2, 2021, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25895502/

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