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Semin Pediatr Neurol. 2009 Mar;16(1):16-22. doi: 10.1016/j.spen.2009.01.003.

Pediatric seizure and epilepsy classification: why is it important or is it important?

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  • 1Barrow Neurologic Institute, University of Arizona, College of Medicine, Phoenix, AZ 85013, USA.


The classification of seizures and epilepsy is a divisive (no pun intended) topic. Debate ranges from how to classify seizures and epilepsy to whether a classification is needed at all. The classification of seizures and epilepsy in the pediatric population, specifically in the neonatal age group, differs from similar classifications in the adult population. To date, the most workable classification documents are the 1981 Classification of Seizures and the 1989 Classification of the Epilepsies from the International League Against Epilepsy. Subsequently, alternative classifications and schemes have been proposed but not universally accepted. Some pediatric-specific classifications, again with particular emphasis on classifying seizures and epilepsy in the neonatal population, have also been proposed. This review examines these classifications and attempts to analyze their pediatric-specific components in terms of applicability to the pediatric population and for their utility for pediatric physician-scientists and health care providers.

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