Febrile seizures are a common emergency faced by general pediatricians. They are mostly self-limiting, isolated events with no sequelae in later life. A minority are more complex. In the acute stage, there are a small number of underlying etiologies that are important to recognize in order to determine the prognosis accurately and to optimize management. There has been a long-standing debate about the relationship of early febrile seizures to the later development of epilepsy. It is now clear that this risk differs for simple and complex febrile seizures: complex febrile seizures may herald the presentation of a number of epilepsy syndromes of which febrile and illness-related seizures are part of the phenotype. This review examines the existing knowledge on febrile seizures and the various clinical phenotypes to which they are linked.
Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2012 International League Against Epilepsy.