Convulsions in children

P N G Med J. 1992 Jun;35(2):144-51.


PIP: Classification, management and prevention of seizures in children are summarized for clinicians in Papua New Guinea. Seizures are classified as febrile with or without underlying brain pathology, and afebrile, including neonatal fits, infantile spasms, myoclonic jerks, akinetic seizures, tonic clonic fits, petit mal, benign focal, and psychomotor seizures. In all cases the first step is to secure the airway, then do a fingerstick and treat hypoglycemia, and finally stop the fit if it is prolonged with paraldehyde, diazepam, phenobarbitone or phenytoin. A cause for the seizure should be sought: physical exam, especially tympanic membranes and throat, blood slide for malaria, lumbar puncture for signs of meningitis, blood culture, serum calcium, and other chemistries. Some empirical treatments to use for negative findings include: dextrose, calcium gluconate, magnesium SO4, pyridoxine, quinine and Fansidar. Hyperthermia in a febrile child can be reversed with cool sponging. The author recommends prescribing phenobarbitone to prevent subsequent simple febrile seizures if the child has 3 or more, then slowly withdrawing the drug if the child is seizure free for a year. Drug therapy for the various other types of seizures available in Papua New Guinea include sodium valproate by special order, and phenobarbitone, phenytoin, carbamazepine, nitrazepam, ethosuximide, and prednisolone. A table is provided to help select the drug for each seizure type, e.g. ethosuximide for petit mal, prednisolone for infantile spasms, and carbamazepine for various types of focal and psychomotor seizures.

Publication types

  • Guideline
  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Epilepsy / therapy
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Seizures / classification
  • Seizures / therapy*


  • Anticonvulsants