Consequences of febrile seizures in childhood.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW:
There is a long-standing hypothesis that febrile status epilepticus (FSE) can cause brain injury, particularly to the hippocampus. This review will evaluate recent evidence on the relationships between FSE and later epilepsy and cognitive impairments. Potential strategies for minimizing adverse outcomes will be discussed.
There are two major longitudinal studies evaluating the outcomes for FSE. T
hese studies provide evidence of acute hippocampal edema that evolves to mesial temporal sclerosis in a small number of children (∼7%).
However, none of these children have developed temporal lobe epilepsy.
There is also evidence of more global white matter injury.
Development is affected, with a loss of about 10 developmental quotient points and there is evidence for accelerated forgetting. These findings do not correlate with MRI parameters.
Therefore, FSE can cause a wide spectrum of injury, but the relationship between this and clinically relevant adverse outcomes remains uncertain.
Although there is accumulating evidence that FSE can cause brain injury, the strategies to minimize the impact remain uncertain.
Imaging requires sedation, with inherent risks, and may not be appropriate for all children with FSE, given the small number with significant hippocampal edema that could be a biomarker. The alternative of treating all children requires a very safe drug which currently does not exist.