Journal Club is a revamped monthly feature in the Paediatric Pearls newsletter. I’m happy to receive submissions from any primary or secondary care journal club you are running as long as the paper is relevant to front line health professionals working with children. Please contact me through the contact page.
With thanks this week to Dr Saskia Wills who took us through a paper on the need (or not) for LPs in children with complex febrile seizures. Her full presentation is here.
- The definition of a febrile seizure in this paper is a seizure in a child 6 months to 5 years with a fever >38o and without an underlying CNS infection or a history of afebrile seizures
- They occur in 2-4% of children <5yrs (peak at 12-18 months)
- They are classified as complex if they last >15 minutes, have a focal onset, or there are multiple episodes within 24 hours
- They are often associated with viral infections, especially HHV6
- The risk is slightly higher in boys and those with a family history of febrile convulsion
- 1/3 of children will have another febrile seizure in the future, but very few (2.4%) go on to have epilepsy. (The risk of epilepsy, which varies with different presenting features, is discussed here)
- In a retrospective French study of otherwise well children presenting with complex febrile seizures, only 5 out of 839 (0.7%) had confirmed bacterial meningitis. All of these had had a prolonged seizure plus some ongoing abnormal neurology or sign suggestive of CNS infection. The study concluded that in children with complex febrile seizures but no other signs of CNS infection, LP usually isn’t necessary. The risk of proven CNS disease is higher in those under 1yr and with a prolonged seizure. This study didn’t look at children who had other risk factors for meningitis, such as immunodeficiency.
Paper studied: Guedj R1, Chappuy H2 et al. Do All Children Who Present With a Complex Febrile Seizure Need a Lumbar Puncture? Ann Emerg Med. 2017 Jul;70(1):52-62. PubMed Link.