Epilepsy in Children: From Diagnosis to Treatment with Focus on Emergency

J Clin Med. 2019 Jan 2;8(1):39. doi: 10.3390/jcm8010039.


Seizures are defined as a transient occurrence of signs and symptoms due to the abnormal, excessive, or synchronous neuronal activity in the brain characterized by abrupt and involuntary skeletal muscle activity. An early diagnosis, treatment, and specific medical support must be performed to prevent Status Epilepticus (SE). Seizure onset, especially in the child population, is related to specific risk factors like positive family history, fever, infections, neurological comorbidity, premature birth, mother's alcohol abuse, and smoking in pregnancy. Early death risk in children without neurological comorbidity is similar to the general population. Diagnosis is generally based on the identification of continuous or recurrent seizures but Electroencephalogram (EEG) evaluation could be useful if SE condition is suspected. The main goal of therapy is to counteract the pathological mechanism which occurs in SE before neural cells are irreversibly damaged. According to the latest International Guidelines and Recommendations of seizure related diseases, a schematic and multi-stage pharmacological and diagnostic approach is proposed especially in the management of SE and its related causes in children. First measures should focus on early and appropriate drugs administration at adequate dosage, airway management, monitoring vital signs, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) admission, and management of parent anxiety.

Keywords: children; seizures; status epilepticus.

Publication types

  • Review