Febrile seizure

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  • 50% of patients never have temperature >39
  • Antipyretics do not offer significant improvements in recurrence rates of febrile seizures[1]
  • Febrile seizures do not increase the risk of serious bacterial illness


  • 2-3% chance of developing epilepsy (1% for general population)
  • 50% of patients <12 mo will have another simple febrile seizure
  • 30% of patients >12 mo will have another simple febrile seizure

Clinical Features

Differential Diagnosis

Pediatric seizure

Pediatric fever


Algorithm for the differentiation between simple and complex febrile seizures. Guidelines for evaluation of each.

Simple versus Complex

  • Simple
    • Generalized tonic-clonic seizure
    • <15 min in duration
    • Age 6mo - 5yr
    • Occurs only once in 24hr period
    • No focal features
  • Complex
    • Any exception to above


  • Glucose in all patients

Simple febrile seizure

Complex febrile seizure


Ongoing Seizure

See Seizure (peds)

Seizure Stopped



  • Simple febrile seizure if patient at baseline
    • Follow-up in 1-2d
  • Complex febrile seizure if patient well-appearing, work-up normal
    • Follow-up in 24hr


  • Ill-appearing
  • Lethargy beyond postictal period

See Also


  1. Rosenbloom E, et al. Do antipyretics prevent the recurrence of febrile seizures in children? A systemic review of randomized controlled trials and meta-analysis. Eur J Paediatr Neurol. 2013; 17:585-588.
  2. Baxter P. et al. Pyridoxine‐dependent and pyridoxine‐responsive seizures. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology 2001, 43: 416–42