Aim Febrile seizures (FS) involve 2–5% of the paediatric population, among which Complex FS (CFS) account for one third of accesses for FS in Emergency Departments (EDs). The aim of our study was to define the epidemiology, the clinical, diagnostic and therapeutic approach to FS and CFSs in the Italian EDs. Methods A multicenter prospective observational study was performed between April 2014 and March 2015. Patients between 1 and 60 months of age, randomly accessing to ED for ongoing FS or reported FS at home were included. Demographic features and diagnostic-therapeutic follow-up were recorded. FS were categorized in simple (<10 min), prolonged (10–30 min) and status epilepticus (>30 min). Results The study population consisted of 268 children. Most of the children experienced simple FS (71.65%). Among the 68 (25.37%) patients with complex FS, 11 were 6–12 month-old, accounting for 45.83% of all the infants with FS in the younger age group. No therapy has been administered at home in 76.12% patients; 23.51% of them received endorectal diazepam and only 1 patient received buccal midazolam. At arrival at ED, no therapy was necessary for 70.52% patients; 50.63% received endorectal diazepam and 17.72% an i.v. bolus of midazolam. Blood tests and acid-base balanced were performed respectively in 82.09% of cases. An electroencephalogram at ED was performed in 21.64% of patients. Neuroimagings were done in 3.73% of cases. A neurologic consultation was asked for 36 patients (13.43%). Conclusion this is the first study assessing epidemiologic characteristics of FS in the Italian pediatric population, evidencing a higher prevalence of CFSs in children younger than 12 months of age and opening a new research scenario on the blood brain barrier vulnerability. On a national level, our study showed the need for a diagnostic standardized work-up to improve the cost/benefit ratio on CFS management.
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