Long-Term Intellectual and Behavioral Outcomes of Children with Febrile Convulsions

University of Bristol, Bristol, England, United Kingdom
New England Journal of Medicine (Impact Factor: 55.87). 07/1998; 338(24):1723-8. DOI: 10.1056/NEJM199806113382403
Source: PubMed


Hospital-based studies have reported that children with febrile convulsions have subsequent mental retardation and behavior problems. In contrast, population-based studies have reported a better outcome.
We identified 398 children with febrile convulsions among 14,676 children enrolled in the Child Health and Education Study, a national population-based study in the United Kingdom of children born in one week in April 1970. The children were comprehensively assessed at the age of 10. After excluding 16 children who had neurodevelopmental problems before their first febrile convulsion and 1 child whose case was atypical, we studied 381 children, 287 with simple febrile convulsions and 94 with complex febrile convulsions. We compared them with the rest of the cohort using measures of academic progress, intelligence, and behavior that included questionnaires, standardized tests, and formal tests.
At the 10-year assessment, only 4 of 102 measures of academic progress, intelligence, and behavior differed significantly between the entire group of children with febrile convulsions and the group without febrile convulsions -- no more than would be expected by chance. Similar results were found when children with simple febrile convulsions and those with complex febrile convulsions were analyzed separately. The children with recurrent episodes of febrile convulsions had outcomes similar to those of the children with only one episode each. Special schooling was required for more children who had febrile convulsions in the first year of life than for those who had had them later in life (5 of 67, or 7.5 percent, vs. 4 of 265, or 1.5 percent; P=0.02), but these numbers were small.
Children who had febrile convulsions performed as well as other children in terms of their academic progress, intellect, and behavior at 10 years of age.

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    • "Nevertheless, their IQ was still within the normal range. Moreover, studies have often used different durational cutoffs to each other, with some studies splitting their sample population into children that have seizures lasting less than and more than 15 min (e.g., Verity et al., 1998; Chang et al., 2000) and other studies using the 30-min durational cutoff adopted in the current study (e.g., Verity et al., 1993; van Esch et al., 1996). Given indications that seizures of the prolonged kind (>30 min) are the ones that carry an association with mesial temporal sclerosis (Meldrum & Brierley, 1973; Baram & Shinnar, 2001), the present study was designed specifically to only investigate those type of seizures. "
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    ABSTRACT: Purpose: Convulsive status epilepticus (CSE) is the most common pediatric neurologic emergency and is often associated with unfavorable neurodevelopmental outcomes. The early developmental trajectory of children following CSE has not been previously investigated, leaving a gap in our understanding of how these adverse long-term outcomes emerge. Methods: We prospectively recruited children aged between 1 and 42 months from a predefined geographic region of North London who had at least one episode of CSE and classified them as prolonged febrile seizures (PFS) or nonfebrile CSE. Neuropsychological and imaging investigations were conducted within 6 weeks of CSE (baseline) and were repeated a year later (follow-up). Neurodevelopment was assessed using the Bayley Scales of Infant Development III and compared to normally developing children. Predictors of neurodevelopmental scores at baseline and follow-up were investigated using regression analyses. Key findings: Of the 54 children that underwent investigations a mean of 38 days following CSE, 27 had PFS (mean age 18.4 months) and 27 had nonfebrile CSE (mean age 15.5 months). In addition, 17 healthy controls were assessed (mean age 20.49 months). Children with nonfebrile CSE had a worse developmental outcome than children with PFS (p < 0.002), despite there being no differences in seizure characteristics. In contrast to expectations, the PFS group had a worse developmental outcome than controls (p = 0.002). There were no significant differences in performance from baseline to 1-year follow-up for the 70.4% of children who provided data. Seizure characteristics were not shown to be significant predictors of performance. Significance: CSE is associated with developmental impairments within 6 weeks of the acute event that continue to be present a year onward. This is also true of PFS cases that under-perform relative to controls despite mean scores within the clinically normal range. The absence of a change in performance from baseline to follow-up as well as the lack of a relationship between seizure characteristics and developmental outcomes supports the notion that premorbid abilities may be overshadowing any direct effects of CSE itself on outcome.
    Epilepsia 04/2013; 54(6). DOI:10.1111/epi.12136 · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    • "Firstly, a poor prognosis in early life SE has not always been reported [65, 81]. Also, it has been reported that the underlying causal factor of SE is related to outcome as opposed to age of onset [59, 82]. However, there are certain methodological considerations in these and other studies. "
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    ABSTRACT: Epileptic encephalopathy encompasses conditions in which cognitive, motor, or sensory deficits result as a consequence of epileptic activity defining certain syndromes. It therefore represents a more severe subset of epilepsy, which can be generally characterized as frequent or severe seizures leading to cerebral dysfunction. This disturbance in cerebral functioning can in turn hinder, somewhat dramatically, cognitive development and further impact the future lives of patients. In this paper, we describe the cognitive consequences of status epilepticus in children and in adults in the context of plasticity theories. Recent studies maintain that consequences of SE may be severe cognitive sequelae, especially in early life. Since the residual consequences of SE in adulthood seem less detrimental and long-lasting, we argue that early life insults, such as those created by SE, during a rapid period of development and functional specialization, result in specific cognitive deficits dependent on the sensitive period at which SE occurred.
    08/2012; 2012:984124. DOI:10.1155/2012/984124
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    • "Several studies have examined the association between febrile seizures in early childhood and later cognitive and school performance in childhood or adolescence (Ellenberg & Nelson, 1978; Knudsen et al., 1996; Verity et al., 1998) or early adulthood (Nørgaard et al., 2009) and all have reported no overall association with febrile seizures and later cognitive outcomes or school performance. Thus, there is little evidence that febrile seizures are associated with any increase in cognitive or behavioral difficulties, consistent with our findings. "
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    ABSTRACT: To examine whether family history of unprovoked seizures is associated with behavioral disorders in epilepsy probands, thereby supporting the hypothesis of shared underlying genetic susceptibility to these disorders. We conducted an analysis of the 308 probands with childhood onset epilepsy from the Connecticut Study of Epilepsy with information on first-degree family history of unprovoked seizures and of febrile seizures whose parents completed the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) at the 9-year follow-up. Clinical cutoffs for CBCL problem and Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)-Oriented scales were examined. The association between first-degree family history of unprovoked seizure and behavioral disorders was assessed separately in uncomplicated and complicated epilepsy and separately for first-degree family history of febrile seizures. A subanalysis, accounting for the tendency for behavioral disorders to run in families, was adjusted for siblings with the same disorder as the proband. Prevalence ratios were used to describe the associations. In probands with uncomplicated epilepsy, first-degree family history of unprovoked seizure was significantly associated with clinical cutoffs for Total Problems and Internalizing Disorders. Among Internalizing Disorders, clinical cutoffs for Withdrawn/Depressed, and DSM-Oriented scales for Affective Disorder and Anxiety Disorder were significantly associated with family history of unprovoked seizures. Clinical cutoffs for Aggressive Behavior and Delinquent Behavior, and DSM-Oriented scales for Conduct Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder were significantly associated with family history of unprovoked seizure. Adjustment for siblings with the same disorder revealed significant associations for the relationship between first-degree family history of unprovoked seizure and Total Problems and Aggressive Behavior in probands with uncomplicated epilepsy; marginally significant results were seen for Internalizing Disorder, Withdrawn/Depressed, and Anxiety Disorder. There was no association between family history of unprovoked seizure and behavioral problems in probands with complicated epilepsy. First-degree family history of febrile seizure was not associated with behavioral problems in probands with uncomplicated or in those with complicated epilepsy. Increased occurrence of behavioral disorders in probands with uncomplicated epilepsy and first degree family history of unprovoked seizure suggests familial clustering of these disorders. This supports the idea that behavioral disorders may be another manifestation of the underlying pathophysiology involved in epilepsy or closely related to it.
    Epilepsia 12/2011; 53(2):301-7. DOI:10.1111/j.1528-1167.2011.03351.x · 4.57 Impact Factor
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