Treatment Provided in Children and Adolescents with Functional Seizures-A Danish Nationwide Cohort

Children (Basel). 2023 Jul 14;10(7):1218. doi: 10.3390/children10071218.


Background: Functional seizures (FS) are episodes of paroxysmal involuntary movements and altered consciousness without the typical changes in the electroencephalography as with epilepsy. A multidisciplinary approach is the golden standard in the treatment of FS. This study examined the cross-sectoral collaboration and treatment modalities provided to children and adolescents after a diagnosis of FS.

Method: A Danish nationwide cohort, consisting of 334 children and adolescents, aged 5-17 years, with a validated diagnosis of FS during the period 2004-2014 was studied. Medical record data were collected from diagnosing hospital departments. Management and treatment modalities from the time of diagnosis up to three months after diagnosis were explored.

Results: The most used treatment modalities were psychoeducation (n = 289, 86.5%) and follow-up in outpatient care (n = 192, 70.6%). A cross-sectoral collaboration was initiated for a third of cases (n = 98, 29.3%). The most commonly provided treatment combination consisted of psychoeducation, follow-up in outpatient care and psychotherapy; however, only a few patients received this specific combination (n = 14, 4.2%).

Conclusions: The treatment applied was individualized and consisted of varying use of treatment modalities. Initiatives to curate clinical guidelines and implement a multidisciplinary treatment approach should be further explored to improve treatment for this young group of patients.

Keywords: Danish nationwide cohort; functional seizures; management; paediatric; psychogenic nonepileptic seizures; treatment.

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.