Information about the diagnosis and treatment of childhood epilepsy and how The brain is made up of millions of nerve cells that use electrical signals to. Only some of the 20 or so medications used to treat seizures have been approved by the FDA for use in children. Legally, your doctor may. Seizures in Children - Learn about the causes, symptoms, diagnosis Electroencephalography is used to diagnose the disorder, and blood and urine tests.
Childhood Use Seizures in
A doctor and a dietician must supervise use of the diet. This restrictive diet is very low in carbohydrates and very high in fat. When the body breaks down fat to use for energy, substances called ketones are formed.
In some children, the ketones help control seizures. The ketogenic diet must be carefully followed and requires that the amounts of foods be measured precisely. Even one bite or taste of a restricted food can lead to a seizure. Children may have difficulty following such a strict diet. If children who are following a ketogenic diet improve substantially, the diet is often continued for at least 2 years.
Side effects of a ketogenic diet may include a low blood sugar level, sluggishness lethargy , and weight loss. Sometimes the Atkins diet is used instead. It is a less strict form of the ketogenic diet. Epilepsy surgery occasionally may be an option if children continue to have seizures while taking two or more antiseizure drugs or if side effects are intolerable.
This operation involves surgically removing an area of the brain. It is usually done only when seizures are caused by only one area in the brain and that one area can be removed without significantly affecting the child's ability to function. Sometimes this operation substantially reduces the number of seizures a child has.
Tests may be done to help locate the area in the brain that is causing seizures. These tests include the following:. MRI to determine the functions of the areas of the brain near the area that is causing the seizures called functional MRI. Continuous video-EEG in which brain waves and a video of the child are recorded at the same time. Positron emission tomography PET. Before surgery is done, a neurosurgeon and a neurologist explain the risks and benefits of surgery to the parents. Even when surgery reduces the frequency and severity of seizures, many children need to continue to take antiseizure drugs.
However, they can usually take lower doses or fewer drugs. Stimulating the vagus nerve the 10th cranial nerve can sometimes reduce the number of seizures children have. The vagus nerve is thought to have indirect connections to areas of the brain that are often involved in causing seizures. This procedure can be used in children as young as 4 years old.
Doctors consider using this procedure when antiseizure drugs are ineffective and epilepsy surgery is not possible. To stimulate the vagus nerve, doctors implant a device that resembles a heart pacemaker under the left collarbone and connect it to the vagus nerve in the neck with a wire that runs under the skin. The device causes a small bulge under the skin. The operation is done on an outpatient basis and takes about 1 to 2 hours.
The device turns on and off all the time and thus periodically stimulates the vagus nerve. The doctor can easily and painlessly change the settings for stimulating the nerve using a magnetic wand placed over the device. Also, when the child senses that a seizure is starting or when a family member sees a seizure begin, a magnet often worn in a bracelet can be used to set the device to stimulate the nerve more often.
Vagus nerve stimulation is used in addition to antiseizure drugs. Possible side effects include hoarseness, cough, and deepening of the voice when the nerve is stimulated. Vagus nerve stimulation usually makes the child more alert. Increased alertness may improve attention but sometimes interferes with sleep. When their child has had a seizure, parents are often concerned that the child may need to take a drug to control seizures an antiseizure drug.
Parents are concerned about side effects, and they know that getting children to take a drug on a regular basis is difficult. Learning more about antiseizure drugs can help parents better participate in decisions about treatment of their child. Doctors can choose from more than 20 antiseizure drugs in their search for one that is appropriate for a particular child.
Most antiseizure drugs have side effects, such as dizziness, nausea, unsteadiness, drowsiness, double vision, or rash. Some antiseizure drugs may affect attention span, memory, and school performance while children are taking the drug. Children who take certain antiseizure drugs must have regular blood tests to determine whether the dose is correct or to check for side effects such as chemical imbalances in the blood.
Some newer antiseizure drugs have not been tested in young children although these drugs often are used in young children and results of that experience are published. In weighing concerns, parents should remember that preventing further seizures is important because the fewer seizures children have, the more likely they are to outgrow the seizures. Also, preventing seizures prevents the injuries and accidents that may occur because of a seizure.
Use a pill box which contains compartments for each day of the week, for different times of each day, or both. Encourage the child to take responsibility for taking the drug, but continue to oversee the process until the child is reliable. Which of the following happens next? Tap to switch to the Professional version. Additional Content Medical News. Seizures in Children By Margaret C.
This is the Consumer Version. Click here for the Professional Version. In newborns, seizures may be caused by. A diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general X-rays.
Lumbar puncture spinal tap. A special needle is placed into the lower back, into the spinal canal. This is the area around the spinal cord.
The pressure in the spinal canal and brain can then be measured. A small amount of cerebral spinal fluid CSF can be removed and sent for testing to determine if there is an infection or other problems. CSF is the fluid that bathes your child's brain and spinal cord. The goal of seizure management is to control, stop, or decrease the frequency of the seizures without interfering with the child's normal growth and development. The major goals of seizure management include the following:.
There are many types of medications used to treat seizures and epilepsy. Medications are selected based on the type of seizure, age of the child, side effects, the cost of the medication, and the adherence with the use of the medication.
Medications used at home are usually taken by mouth as capsules, tablets, sprinkles, or syrup , but some can be given rectally into the child's rectum. If the child is in the hospital with seizures, medication by injection or intravenous IV may be used. It is important to give your child his or her medication on time and as prescribed by your child's doctor.
Different people use up the medication in their body differently, so adjustments schedule and dosage may need to be made for good control of seizures. All medications can have side effects, although some children may not experience side effects.
Discuss your child's medication side effects with his or her doctor. While your child is taking medications, different tests may be done to monitor the effectiveness of the medication. These tests may include the following:. Frequent blood draws testing is usually required to check the level of the medication in the body.
Based on this level, the doctor may increase or decrease the dose of the medication to achieve the desired level. This level is called the therapeutic level and is where the medication works most efficiently.
Blood work may also be done to monitor the affects of medications on body organs. These tests are performed to see how the child's body is responding to the medication. This test is done to monitor how the medication is helping the electrical problems in the brain.
Certain children who are having problems with medications, or whose seizures are not being well-controlled, may be placed on a special diet called the ketogenic diet. This type of diet is low in carbohydrates and high in protein and fat. The ketogenic diet is sometimes offered to those children who continue to have seizures while on seizure medication. When the medications do not work, a ketogenic diet may be considered.
No one knows exactly how the diet works, but some children do become seizure-free when put on the diet. However, the diet does not work for everyone. The ketogenic diet is very high in fat about 90 percent of the calories come from fat. Protein is given in amounts to help promote growth. A very small amount of carbohydrate is included in the diet.
This very high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet causes the body to make ketones. Ketones are made by the body from the breakdown of fat. They are made for energy when the body does not get enough carbohydrates for energy.
If your child eats too many carbohydrates, then his or her body may not make ketones. The presence of ketones is important to the success of the diet.
Your child's doctor will determine if this diet is right for your child. When the ketogenic diet is started, your child will be admitted to the hospital. It may take four to five days in the hospital to get the diet started and for you to learn how to plan the diet. While in the hospital, your child may not be able to eat for one to two days until ketones are measured in the urine. Once ketones are present in the urine, special high-fat, low-carbohydrate shakes may be started.
These are sometimes called keto shakes. After several meals of keto shakes, your child will be started on solid foods. You may also be taught how to check your child's urine for ketones. The dietitian will help determine how much fat, protein, and carbohydrate your child is allowed to have, usually divided into three meals a day.
The ketogenic diet can by very challenging to prepare and requires that all foods be weighed using a food scale. The ketogenic diet is not nutritionally balanced, therefore, vitamin and mineral supplements are needed.
Some medications and other products, such as toothpaste and mouthwash, contain carbohydrates. It is important to avoid these products if your child is on the ketogenic diet. Your child may not make ketones in their urine if too many carbohydrates are included in the diet. Your child's doctor and dietitian can give you a list of medications, and other products, that are free of carbohydrates.
Children usually stay on the diet about two years. However, if your child had a seizure, and especially if they had more than one, they might have tests such as an electroencephalogram EEG , which is a reading of the electrical activity of the brain, or a brain scan such as a CT scan or an MRI. Following any seizure, perform first aid. Where a seizure continues for an extended period of time more than 5 to 10 minutes , it might be necessary for a health professional to give medication to stop it.
However, children who have a febrile convulsion can be prone to having a seizure again in the future. If a child experiences multiple seizures, regular medication might be needed, but this may not be necessary for a one-off seizure with a clear cause, such as a febrile convulsion. However, several different medications might need to be tried to find one that is effective. Other treatments, such as surgery, are sometimes used. The good news is that many children grow out of seizures or epilepsy.
If your child is on medication for seizures, it is important to avoid missing doses. Most children recover well after a seizure, although they might be sleepy and confused for a short while. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have. You can also call Pregnancy Birth and Baby on , or video call, for advice and support.
Epilepsy is when a child has seizures over a long period. If your child is diagnosed with epilepsy, treatment aims to let your child live a normal life. What is a seizure? Seizures are caused by a short change in the normal electrical activity in the brain.
With treatment, most children with epilepsy lead a fairly normal life. Learn about causes, what to do during seizures and how to help avoid epileptic fits. Febrile convulsions are seizures caused by fever. Symptoms include stiffness, jerkiness or unconsciousness. These convulsions usually arent serious. Children with epilepsy generally have seizures that respond well to medication, and they enjoy a normal and active childhood. If your childs temperature is higher than 38C, its probably a fever.
A fever is a sign of illness. Heres what to do when your child has a fever. What is a breath-holding spell? Epilepsy Action Australia provides an innovative, high quality service across Australia for people with epilepsy.
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This article will discuss the most common types of seizures and tests used in children who have seizures. Articles about seizure treatment and. Seizures in children have many causes. Common causes of childhood seizures or epilepsy include fever (these are called febrile seizures) genetic causes head . Population-based estimates suggest that every year children in the United States experience a first unprovoked seizure. Using.