is a sudden change in behavior. It is caused by sudden, abnormal, and excessive electrical activity in the brain. A neonatal seizure occurs in newborn babies.
Seizures may be severe or mild. They may cause physical changes like convulsions. It may affect only part of the body or the entire body. A short seizure itself does not cause serious health conditions. Prolonged seizures can lead to permanent damage. The damage is due to decreased oxygen and excessive brain cell activity.
A seizure may be a symptom or side effect of a more serious health condition. If your child has a seizure your doctor will want to find out what caused it.
Abnormal and excessive electrical activity in the brain.
Treatment for the seizures depends on the cause of the seizures. Some seizures will not require treatment. If the seizure is caused by an underlying condition, the doctor will create a plan to treat that condition. Resolving the underlying condition will likely stop the seizures.
Referral to a pediatric neurologist may also be needed.
Anticonvulsant medication can help to prevent seizures. The medication that is used will depend on the type of seizure. These medications do have some side effects. As a result, they are often only used for severe or frequent seizures.
Medications are not usually prescribed for
febrile seizures. These seizures are associated with a rapid increase in temperature due to a fever. Children will outgrow these seizures by about 5 years of age. They are rarely associated with long term problems so anticonvulsant medication is rarely recommended.
Some severe seizures may be treated with brain surgery. This may occur in some children with epilepsy. During this type of surgery certain nerve fibers may be separate or a section of the brain may be removed. This surgery may help to reduce or eliminate seizures. Surgery is not done very often.
Medication, if recommended, can usually prevent seizures. It is important to take anticonvulsant medication as needed.
Febrile seizures are may be the first sign of a fever. This can make it difficult to prevent. Another seizure may happen when a fever is present in the future. The doctor may advise medication to keep fever down whenever the child gets sick.
Hogan T. Seizure disorders in childhood. Loyola University Medical Education Network website. Available at: http://www.meddean.luc.edu/lumen/MedED/pedneuro/epilepsy.htm. Accessed September 21, 2017.
Neonatal seizures. Intensive Care Nursery Staff House Manual. UCSF Children's Hospital website. Available at: https://www.ucsfbenioffchildrens.org/pdf/manuals/48_Seizures.pdf. Published 2004. Accessed September 21, 2017.
Last reviewed September 2017 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board Kari Kassir, MD
Last Updated: 9/30/2013
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