Prolonged febrile seizures, clinical characteristics, and acute management

Haim Bassan*, Marina Barzilay, Shlomo Shinnar, Zamir Shorer, Israel Matoth, Varda Gross-Tsur

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Summary Purpose Prolonged febrile seizures (PFS) lasting ≥15 min have been associated with increased risk for epilepsy in later life. Initial treatment, mostly prehospital, aims to prevent its evolution to febrile status epilepticus (FSE) and reduce adverse outcome. Paucity of information is available on the immediate treatment before reaching a hospital facility. Methods We obtained data, prospectively, on all children who presented from January 2008 to March 2010 with PFS to the emergency rooms of four Israeli medical centers. Information related to seizure semiology, treatment, and medical history was collected into a predefined pro forma form and reviewed centrally. Key Findings Sixty children, median age 18.3 months (interquartile range [IQR] 12-28) were included with a median seizure duration of 35 min (IQR 26-60), 43 (71.7%) lasting ≥30 min. Seizures had focal onset in 34 infants (57%). Fifty-four families (90%) activated the ambulance service; median ambulance arrival time was 8 min (IQR 5-10), 33 (61%) were medically treated by the ambulance paramedic, of whom 15 (45%) responded to treatment. Twelve children with active seizures did not receive medications. Initial treatment with rectal diazepam was more common in those with seizure duration >30 min. Significance Most children with PFS are treated with antiepileptic drugs early by the ambulance service. However, even timely treatment does not prevent status epilepticus in the majority of cases. These data highlight the need for effective early treatment of this common pediatric emergency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1092-1098
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • Benzodiazepines
  • Febrile seizures
  • Status epilepticus


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