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Am Fam Physician. 2012 Aug 15;86(4):334-40.

Evaluation of first nonfebrile seizures.

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  • 1Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA.

Abstract

Nonfebrile seizures may indicate underlying disease or epilepsy. The patient history can often distinguish epileptic seizures from nonepileptic disorders by identifying the events directly preceding the convulsion, associated conditions, and details of the seizure, including triggers, length, and type of movements. Laboratory testing, lumbar puncture, and neuroimaging may be indicated depending on the presentation, suspected etiology, and patient's age. Electroencephalography should be performed 24 to 48 hours after a first seizure because of its substantial yield and ability to predict recurrence. Neuroimaging is recommended for adults, infants, and children who have cognitive or motor developmental delay or a focal seizure. Neuroimaging may be scheduled on an outpatient basis for patients with stable vital signs who are awake and have returned to neurologic baseline. Emergent neuroimaging should be performed in patients with persistent decreased mental status or a new focal neurologic abnormality. Although magnetic resonance imaging is generally preferred to head computed tomography because of its greater sensitivity for intracranial pathology, computed tomography should be performed if intracranial bleeding is suspected because of recent head trauma, coagulopathy, or severe headache. Treatment with an antiepileptic drug after a first seizure does not prevent epilepsy in the long term, but it decreases the short-term likelihood of a second seizure. Adults with an unremarkable neurologic examination, no comorbidities, and no known structural brain disease who have returned to neurologic baseline do not need to be started on antiepileptic therapy. Treatment decisions should weigh the benefit of decreased short-term risk of recurrence against the potential adverse effects of antiepileptic drugs.

Copyright © 2012 American Academy of Family Physicians.

PMID:
22963022
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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