The role of the middle ear and tonsil in the etiology of febrile convulsions

Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 1995 May;32(2):153-7. doi: 10.1016/0165-5876(95)01166-9.


The middle ear and tonsil are thought to be important sources of infection in children with febrile seizures. However, these patients are rarely examined by an otolaryngologist in the acute phase and we are unaware of any previous studies where otolaryngologists have documented the presence of acute suppurative otitis media (ASOM) and tonsillitis in a series of children with febrile convulsions. We carried out a prospective study on 47 children admitted to two Dublin hospitals with a diagnosis of simple febrile convulsion. All children were examined by an otolaryngology resident within 6 h of admission. Nine children were noted to have ASOM and 18 had acute tonsillitis. The otolaryngology resident's opinion of the condition of the ears and throat often differed from that of the admitting pediatric resident, as documented in the clinical records. We review the recent literature on febrile convulsions and discuss the possible role of the otolaryngologist in the prevention of seizure recurrence.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Ear, Middle / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / complications*
  • Otitis Media with Effusion / physiopathology*
  • Palatine Tonsil / physiopathology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Seizures, Febrile / complications*
  • Seizures, Febrile / diagnosis
  • Tonsillitis / complications*
  • Tonsillitis / physiopathology*