Which factors determine febrile seizure recurrence? A prospective study

Brain Dev. 2008 Jan;30(1):7-13. doi: 10.1016/j.braindev.2007.05.001. Epub 2007 Jun 21.


Purpose: Many factors have been studied as potential predictors of recurrent febrile seizures (FS), however the available data in literature are inconsistent. The aim of the present paper is to determine which factors are responsible for the first and for multiple recurrences of FS, in a large sample of children with a long-term follow up.

Methods: Two hundred and sixty children were followed after their first FS. The inclusion criteria were: a history of a first febrile seizure; no personal history of afebrile seizures; no previous anticonvulsant medication and age between three months and six years. The median time of follow up was 4.3 years. We had a contact with the families of the children every 4-6 months and also in every recurrence.

Results: Very significant prognostic markers for the first FS recurrence were low age at onset, recurrence within the same illness, frequent febrile episodes and maternal preponderance. Powerful prognostic factors that may predispose children who already have one recurrence to a second or more are low age at onset and especially positive family history of FS. Additionally, low temperature prior to the initial seizure is a powerful predictor for three or more recurrences.

Conclusions: Prognostic factors for FS recurrence are a useful tool for the clinician. It is obvious that as many powerful predictors a child has, the greater will be the risk for FS recurrence.

MeSH terms

  • Age of Onset
  • Body Temperature / physiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Inheritance Patterns / physiology
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Seizures, Febrile / diagnosis*
  • Seizures, Febrile / epidemiology*
  • Seizures, Febrile / physiopathology
  • Time Factors