Investigations in children with seizures visiting a pediatric emergency department: A monocenter study

Eur J Paediatr Neurol. 2022 Sep:40:44-50. doi: 10.1016/j.ejpn.2022.06.010. Epub 2022 Jun 20.


Aim: Neurological disorders, in particular seizure, are one of the reasons for admission in pediatric emergency departments (PED). We aimed to evaluate the frequency and the relevance of each investigation for seizure management in the PED.

Methods: We conducted a one-year retrospective study. Based on predefined criteria, we evaluate the appropriateness of the investigations. Logical regression was used to study the risk factors for acute symptomatic seizure (ASS).

Results: We identified 691 visits to the PED for an epileptic event over an annual volume of 80,320 visits. Seizures occurring in Children with epilepsy were the most frequent epileptic events seen in the PED (42%). Looking at the investigation performed in the PED, a blood electrolytes analysis was performed in 26%, neuroimaging in 9%, electroencephalography recording in 9% and LP in 5% of patients. ASSs represented 2.1% of the seizures and 0.6% of PED neurological visits. In the multivariate analysis, an initial abnormal neurological examination (OR, 20.92 [4.87; 89.81, p<0.0001) was the only risk factor that remained significantly associated with ASS. A seizure occurring in an epilepsy patient was significantly associated with an unprovoked seizure (OR, 0.12 [0.02; 0.57], p<0.008).

Interpretation: All ASSs were associated with a positive or abnormal examination. Moreover, there is a significant proportion of investigations requested in cases of an epileptic event that did not lead to a diagnosis or modification of the management. Based on our methods, there seems to be an overuse of investigations for seizure in children with epilepsy.

Keywords: Children; Emergency; Epilepsy; Investigation.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Electroencephalography
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Epilepsy* / complications
  • Epilepsy* / diagnosis
  • Epilepsy* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Seizures* / diagnosis