To analyze the spectrum of epilepsy syndromes which follow childhood febrile convulsions (FC) and to examine whether retrospective analysis of clinical features of the FC enables discrimination of patients who develop temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) from those who develop generalized epilepsy (GE). One hundred and thirteen patients with epilepsy and antecedent FC were retrospectively analyzed. We inquired in detail about the clinical characteristics of FC (age, duration, number, focal symptoms) as well as family history, birth history, neurological status, and psychomotor development before onset of FC. Forty five (39.8%) patients had TLE, 41 (36.6%) GE, and 27 (23.9%) had extratemporal epilepsy (ETE). Patients with TLE had a significantly longer duration of FC (P< or =0.001), more often focal features (P< or =0.001), and febrile status epilepticus (P< or =0.001) than patients with GE. Age at FC, Number of FC, family history, birth history and neurological status at FC did not differ between groups. A stepwise discriminant model allowed correct assignment after cross validation in 84.2% to TLE and in 100% to GE. A broad spectrum of epilepsy syndromes follow FC. We found a strong association of prolonged and focal FC with later development of TLE. Short generalized FC were associated with GE.