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Epilepsy and febrile convulsions

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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risk of developing epilepsy after febrile seizure

Majority of children with febrile seizures do not develop epilepsy.

  • in an epidemiological study of 687 children who experienced an initial febrile seizure (simple and complex)
    • the risk of developing unprovoked seizure was increased fivefold when compared with children with no febrile seizures.
    • in children with simple febrile seizures the risk of developing epilepsy was 2.4% while in children with febrile seizures with a single complex feature the risk was 6-8% and those with two or three complex features, the risk was 17-22 % and 49%, respectively (1)

Several risk factors for future epilepsy after a febrile seizure have been described.

  • family history of epilepsy
  • complex febrile seizures
  • neurodevelopmental impairment e.g - cerebral palsy, hydrocephalus
  • short duration of fever (<1 hour) before the seizure (1,2)


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