Is iron deficiency anaemia a risk factor for febrile seizure? A case control study

Poonam Singh, Vinit Mehta


Background:The relationship between iron deficiency anaemia and febrile convulsions has been examined in several studies with conflicting results. The authors aimed to evaluate the relation, if any, of iron status with febrile seizures.

Methods: In this case-control study, 36 cases and 36 controls were taken. The study group consisted of all children with a diagnosis of febrile convulsion, aged between 6 months and 6 years, without developmental delay, neurological deficit, or CNS infection, who were treated at SMIMER Hospital, a tertiary care centre of Surat, India, from November 2014 to November 2015. The control group consisted of febrile children without convulsion; controls were matched to the cases by gender and age. Sample size was calculated by using SPS based on the alpha error 5%, beta error 10%, power of the study = 90% and using the case (29.5±21.3) and control (53.3±37.6) from previous study. Provided sample size n = 72, where n1 (cases) = 36 and n2 (controls) = 36. Discrete variables expressed as counts (%) and compared using the chi-square tests. Continuous variables are expressed as mean±S.D. and compared by means of the unpaired, two-sided t-test. Adjusted odds ratios and 95% Wald confidence intervals were calculated.

Results:Mean age of patients and controls were 27.33±14 and 27.2±18.7 months respectively. Risk factors like prematurity, prior history of febrile convulsions and family history of convulsions showed statistical significance (p value being 0.001, 0.003 and 0.011) among cases. Serum ferritin levels in study group was found to be 57.10±42.8 microgm/L compared to 135.42±15 microgm/L of control group and it was the only haematological variable which was statistical significance (p-value  0.04). IDA was found in 30.6% of cases and 8.3% of controls (p value 0.0172).  A patient with febrile seizures was 2.4 times more likely to have IDA. (Crude odd ratio 2.4; 95% CI 39.5-40.52).

Conclusions: The study found positive association between iron deficiency anaemia and febrile seizures.  


Febrile convulsions, Iron deficiency anaemia

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