Association between iron deficiency anemia and febrile seizures

J Coll Physicians Surg Pak. 2005 Jun;15(6):338-40.


Objective: To find the association between iron deficiency anemia and febrile convulsions among children presenting at the Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi.

Design: Case control study.

Place and duration of study: Paediatric Department of the Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, from January 2001 to December 2001.

Patients and methods: A total of 60 patients fulfilled the study criteria of febrile seizure or any febrile illness. These were divided into two groups with children having febrile seizures comprised the cases while those having only febrile illness with no seizures comprised the controls. Both groups had equal number of children matched for age and gender. Workup for seizures and iron deficiency anemia was done and data was analyzed using SPSS version 10.

Results: The mean age for cases (group A) was 22.97+/-9.52 months while that for controls (group B) was 22.77+/-11.33. There was also no significant difference in the gender distribution in the two groups. Iron deficiency anemia was significantly more frequent among the cases as compared to the controls as evident from parameters studied i.e. hemoglobin <10 g/dl (p-value= <0.000), hematocrit <30% (p= <0.01), MCV <70 fL (p=<0.002), MCH<24 pg (p= <0.001) and serum ferritin <10 ng/ml (p= <0.000).

Conclusion: Plasma ferritin level was significantly lower in cases as compared to controls suggesting that iron deficient children are more prone to febrile seizures. A follow-up study of patients found to be iron-deficient at the time of a first febrile seizure to determine the incidence of subsequent febrile seizures after treatment for iron deficiency would be of great interest.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / blood
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / complications*
  • Body Temperature / physiology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Ferritins / blood
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hemoglobins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Odds Ratio
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Seizures, Febrile / blood
  • Seizures, Febrile / etiology*
  • Seizures, Febrile / physiopathology


  • Hemoglobins
  • Ferritins