Children who experience febrile status epilepticus (FSE) should be given antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) as early as possible to stop their seizures and safeguard against long-term complications, according to a new study.
Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University examined 199 paediatric patients between the ages of one month and six years who had febrile seizures – meaning episodes brought on by fever – lasting longer than 30 minutes, meeting the criteria to be called FSE.
Some 90 per cent of subjects received at least one AED, with more than one dose required by 70 per cent of patients before FSE was successfully ended. The researchers looked at the relationship between seizure duration, delay in administering in AEDs, and whether or not short or long-term morbidities followed the episode.
On average, the children were administered their first anticonvulsant 30 minutes from seizure onset. Researchers found the mean seizure time for children treated prior to emergency room admission was 81 minutes, while those who were not administered AEDs before arriving in hospital recorded seizures lasting on average 95 minutes. Analyses determined the average time between first AED dose and termination of FSE was 38 minutes.
“Our findings clearly show that early AED initiation results in shorter seizure duration,” argued Syndi Seinfeld, lead author of the study and assistant professor at the Division of Child Neurology, Children’s Hospital of Richmond.
She added: “A standard FSE treatment protocol prior to arrival at the hospital, along with training for EMS staff, is needed across the U.S. to help improve outcomes for children with prolonged seizures.”
Dr Seinfeld’s study comprises part of the larger FEBSTAT programme – a multi-centre study, funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), into the consequences of FSE. The condition accounts for 25 per cent of all incidents of paediatric status epilepticus and puts children at risk of long-term complications including the development of epilepsy.
Speaking at the publication of the report, NIH program director Brandy Fureman said FEBSTAT’s overall findings would help “develop better treatments” for children who experience prolonged febrile seizures and their consequences