[Febrile seizures: questions and answers]

Medicina (B Aires). 2018:78 Suppl 2:18-24.
[Article in Spanish]


A febrile seizure occurs in association with fever in a child aged 6 to 60 months, without central nervous system infection or other known cause of acute seizures in a child without a prior history of afebrile seizures. Febrile seizures occur in about 2-5% of children. Central nervous system infections should be considered in patients with febrile seizures, even though the frequency of this possibility is low, especially when patients do not return to baseline. Simple febrile seizures are considered benign events and there are clear guidelines about evaluation and management, but the evaluation of complex febrile seizures is controversial. They are associated with a small increased risk of epilepsy which cannot be prevented. The role of electroencephalography is controversial. We analyzed the data of many studies and concluded that epileptiform discharges have poor positive predictive value. Neuroimaging is recommended to look for acute or pre-existing hippocampal abnormalities following febrile status or focal febrile seizures that could be associated to the risk of developing mesial temporal sclerosis and temporal lobe epilepsy. The relationship between these disorders and febrile seizures remains a controversial issue. An abnormal electroencephalography or magnetic resonance imaging studies will not change the clinical management and could contribute to overdiagnosis.

Keywords: electroencephalography; epilepsy; febrile seizures; magnetic resonance imaging; meningitis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / diagnosis
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / etiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Seizures, Febrile / diagnosis*
  • Seizures, Febrile / drug therapy