Seizures in hospitalised paediatric patients with SARS-CoV-2 and comparison of severity with seizures in hospitalised paediatric patients with other respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic: a population-based cohort study

Arch Dis Child. 2024 Jan 22;109(2):152-157. doi: 10.1136/archdischild-2023-325974.


Objective: To study seizures in patients hospitalised due to SARS-CoV-2 infection, and compare their severity with seizures in patients hospitalised due to other viral respiratory tract infections (RTIs).

Design: Observational population-based cohort study.

Setting: Northern Stockholm.

Patients: Patients aged 1 month-18 years hospitalised due to SARS-CoV-2 with and without seizures, and patients of the same age hospitalised due to other viral RTIs with seizures, between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2022.

Main outcome measures: The prevalence of seizures in hospitalised patients due to SARS-CoV-2, the evaluation of assumed predictors of seizures and the comparison of severity markers in patients with SARS-CoV-2 versus other RTIs.

Results: 32 of 239 included patients (13.4%) admitted due to SARS-CoV-2 infection had seizures. Central nervous system (CNS) disease and the omicron period had significantly increased OR for seizures (OR: 5.12; CI: 2.06 to 12.72 and OR: 3.01; CI: 1.15 to 7.88, respectively). Seizures in patients with SARS-CoV-2 were more common in children older than 5 years (p=0.001), even in the absence of fever (p=0.007), as compared with other viral RTIs. The duration of hospitalisation was longer in patients with seizures due to other viral RTIs (p=0.023). There was no significant difference regarding severity markers of seizures between the two groups.

Conclusions: CNS disease and the omicron period were risk factors for seizures in patients with SARS-CoV-2, who were older than patients with other RTIs. The severity of seizures was comparable between the two groups; hospitalisation was however longer in patients with other RTIs.

Keywords: Covid-19; Epidemiology; Neurology; Paediatrics.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19* / complications
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Respiratory Tract Infections*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Seizures / epidemiology
  • Seizures / etiology