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Eur J Pediatr. 2014 Aug;173(8):977-82. doi: 10.1007/s00431-014-2269-7. Epub 2014 Jan 30.

Actual insights into the clinical management of febrile seizures.

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  • 1Division of Pediatric Neurology, Department of Pediatrics, Child Neurology and Psychiatry, "Sapienza" University of Rome, Via dei Sabelli 108, 00184, Rome, Italy,


Febrile seizures (FS) are a benign epileptic manifestation of infancy occurring between 3 months and 5 years of age and affecting an estimated 2-5 % of children. They have usually no important negative effects on motor and cognitive development. Simple FS (generalized seizures, lasting less than 10 min and single episodes during the same febrile event) have a benign prognosis in almost all cases and do not require an extensive diagnostic workup. In complex FS (focal semiology and lasting more than 10 min, more than one episode during the same febrile event), a more detailed clinical, electroencephalographic, laboratory, and neuroimaging evaluation is necessary because of a higher percentage of underlying detectable causes and a mildly higher risk for later development of epilepsy. Febrile status epilepticus is the most severe type of complex FS even if its morbidity and mortality is extremely low. Simple FS plus (more than one convulsive episode in 24 h) have the same benign prognosis of simple FS. Neither intermittent nor continuous prophylaxis is actually recommended both in simple and complex FS because its side effects outweigh its possible benefits.


This review summarizes recent developments into the clinical management of FS including a suggested algorithm for simple and complex FS, the concept of simple FS plus, the controversies about the relationships between FS and hippocampal sclerosis, the relationships between FS and complex syndrome such as Dravet syndrome, genetic epilepsy with FS plus or febrile infection-related epilepsy syndrome, and the results of recent epidemiologic studies on febrile status epilepticus.

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