Guidelines recommend EEG to evaluate children's first nonfebrile seizure

September 11, 2000

ST. PAUL, MN -- Children who experience a first seizure in the absence of fever or obvious precipitating cause should receive an EEG evaluation, according to new guidelines from the American Academy of Neurology and the Child Neurology Society. They are published in the September 12 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

"A seizure can be a dramatic and frightening experience for both the child and the family," said Deborah Hirtz, MD, a pediatric neurologist at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in Bethesda, MD, who led the guideline development group. "The EEG performed after a first seizure may help determine the type of seizure that has occurred and the likelihood that a seizure may happen again."

The EEG results may be also helpful in making decisions about further treatment and evaluation for the approximately 25,000 to 40,000 children in the United States who experience their first nonfebrile seizure each year.

"Doctors should determine which individual evaluations such as blood testing and neuroimaging should be performed based on the individual child's situation," said Hirtz.

The guidelines also made recommendations for future research, including identifying the best time to perform the EEG, and generating more data about the value of laboratory testing and the significance of results of neuroimaging studies. Finally, the guidelines recommend that future studies show results by age of the children.
These guidelines were developed after an extensive search and review by an expert panel of all research available since 1980. In addition to the AAN and the CNS, the guidelines are endorsed by the American Epilepsy Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 16,500 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research.

For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit its Web site at For online neurological health and wellness information, visit NeuroVista at

For more information contact: Sarah Parsons (651) 695-2732

American Academy of Neurology

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