The value of early postictal EEG in children with complex febrile seizures

Epilepsia. 2000 Feb;41(2):219-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1157.2000.tb00143.x.


Purpose: To assess the usefulness of an early postictal EEG in neurologically normal children with complex febrile seizures.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective chart review of all neurologically normal children who were hospitalized over a period of 2.5 years after complex febrile seizures, and had an EEG up to 1 week after the seizure.

Results: Thirty-three patients (mean age, 17.8 months) qualified for inclusion into the study. Twenty-four patients were qualified as complex cases based on one factor (prolonged in 9, repetitive in 13, and focal in 2). Nine other patients had two complex factors: in six patients, the seizures were long and repetitive; in two patients, the seizures were focal and repetitive; and in one patient, the seizures were long, focal, and repetitive. Thirteen (39%) patients experienced prior febrile seizures. All 33 patients had a normal postictal sleep EEG. Our results indicate with a 95% probability that the true rate of abnormalities in an early postictal EEG performed on otherwise normal children with complex febrile seizures is 8.6% or less.

Conclusions: The yield of abnormalities of an early postictal EEG in this population is low and similar to the reported rate of abnormalities in children with simple febrile seizures. The routine practice of obtaining an early EEG in neurologically normal children with complex febrile seizures is not justified.

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Electroencephalography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Hospital Records
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Patient Selection
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Probability
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Seizures / diagnosis
  • Seizures / epidemiology
  • Seizures, Febrile / diagnosis*
  • Seizures, Febrile / physiopathology
  • Sleep / physiology