Seizures presenting in childhood

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By Kevin E Chapman MD

The anxiety and fear surrounding childhood epilepsy can have a profound impact on the patients and their families. The diagnosis of seizure disorders during childhood can sometimes be challenging due to the variety of seizures and nonepileptic events that are seen in the pediatric population. Making the appropriate diagnosis is important to ensure proper treatment and accurate determination of prognosis. In this clinical article, Dr. Kevin Chapman of St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center discusses some guidelines and pitfalls in diagnosing seizures and epilepsy in childhood and adolescence.

Key Points

  • The diagnosis of a seizure requires a thorough history of the event with an emphasis on lateralizing features or recognition of features that may suggest a nonepileptic cause.
  • In the absence of signs or symptoms of infection or trauma, MRI is the preferred imaging modality for patients with new-onset seizure.
  • It is often important to identify a patient’s epilepsy syndrome to assist in choosing the appropriate treatment and to discuss prognosis.