Febrile seizures part 1: Seize the day!

Febrile seizures seem to be all the rage. You’ve been seeing a lot recently, and several questions keep cropping up. This is the first in a series attempting to answer these questions. What better way to start than at the start

Why do they happen?

The short answer is “who knows?” There are several theories however. It is felt that IL-1 beta and other chemicals are seizure inducing in certain kids with specific genetic factors (vague I know). Some experts think that particular ion channels in the brian are involved as well. They occur with both viral and bacterial infections. HHV-6 is a known provoking factors – at least according to some studies. See here and here for more information. Certain vaccines also increase the risk (diphtheria, tetanus toxoid, MMR, whole cell pertussis). According to Barlow et al from NEJM the risk of seizures after DTP was increased at both 8 and 14 days.

Most will occur on the first day of illness, and it might even be the first sign that the kid is sick! Some theorize that a “quick-rising” fever leads to the seizure but that is just a theory. The height of fever is not definitively correlated with the risk of a seizure.

More coming real soon…

By | 2013-08-08T11:28:09+00:00 August 8th, 2013|Neurology|

About the Author:

Brad Sobolewski, MD, MEd is an Assistant Professor of Pediatric Emergency Medicine and an Assistant Director for the Pediatric Residency Training Program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. He is on Twitter @PEMTweets and authors the Pediatric Emergency Medicine site PEMBlog. All views are strictly my own and not official medical advice.