Predictors of meningitis in children presenting with first episode of febrile seizure

Suresh Reddy D., Habib Khan S., Pavan Hegde


Background: Febrile seizure is the most common cause of seizures in infants and toddlers presenting to the paediatric emergency department. Two to five percent of children experience at least one or more episodes of febrile seizures. Simple febrile seizures are benign and self-limiting. They have good prognosis and carry very low risk for epilepsy. Probability of acute bacterial meningitis presenting as fever with seizures varies from 0.6% to 6.7%. The American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP) strongly recommends lumbar puncture (for CSF analysis) in the work up of every child under 18 months of age with a first episode of febrile seizure to rule out acute bacterial meningitis. The objective of this study was to determine the occurrence of meningitis in children who presented with first episode of seizure and fever and also the predictors of meningitis among them.

Methods: The records of children admitted to Father Muller Medical College and Hospital between 1st January 2014 to 31st December 2015 were reviewed. All children between 6 months to 6 years of age having first episode of convulsions, associated with fever were included in the study and subjected to retrospective analysis of data collected from the case sheets.

Results: Our study included 105 children with febrile seizures, 49 children had simple febrile seizures (SFS) and 56 children presented as atypical febrile seizures (AFS). Lumbar puncture was performed in 43 children (15 with SFS and 28 with AFS). The CSF analysis was normal in all the children who presented as simple febrile seizures. There was 25.87% prevalence of meningitis in children with atypical febrile seizures who underwent lumbar puncture. The CSF yield suggestive of bacterial meningitis was as high as 50% in children below 1 year in whom lumbar puncture was done.

Conclusions: Children presenting with Atypical/Complex febrile seizures who were treated with antibiotics have more likelihood of having meningitis rather than those presenting with simple febrile seizures. 


Bacterial meningitis, Febrile seizures, Lumbar puncture

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