Care at Children's
During a seizure, some children may collapse, shake uncontrollably, or lose consciousness. Other children with seizures may stare and will not respond when called. Some may have jerking or twitching of one side of the body or face; chewing movements of the mouth; or rapid blinking of the eyes.
We understand how frightening seizures can be, and we take a compassionate, family-centered approach to evaluating and treating our patients - beginning with the first visit.American Nurses Credentialing Center has awarded us Magnet status, a recognition of superior nursing processes and quality patient care.
During a patient’s first appointment, we’ll ask questions about the seizures, including frequency and intensity. We’ll also perform a physical exam and go over existing medical records.
Your doctor may recommend imaging tests, such as an electroencephalogram (EEG) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or a blood test.
Most seizures in children do not have a clear cause. The term physicians for seizures without an identified cause is “idiopathic,” meaning the cause cannot be found with our current medical tools. Many of these idiopathic seizures may be due to genetic reasons.
Some seizures have a variety of causes, including:
- Low blood sugar
- Head injuries
- Infection or fever
- Brain disorders
In children, most seizures occur once and never happen again. When seizures show a pattern of recurring, the diagnosis of epilepsy may be made. It is important to know that there are many different types of epilepsy. Not all forms of epilepsy are treated the same. A thorough evaluation will help us determine the cause of the seizures, the type of epilepsy, and the best treatment plan.
Recommended treatments for seizure vary. Some children require no treatment at all, particularly if they’ve had one seizure.
If your doctor determines that treatment is necessary, he or she may recommend medications called antiepileptic drugs (AEDs).
Other treatments are available but physicians usually use these when seizures cannot be controlled with medications. These include:
- A special high-fat, low carbohydrate that may minimize seizures
- Vagal nerve stimulator, a device that produces pulses of electricity to stimulate the vagus nerve
- Surgery to remove areas of the brain causing the seizures
The doctor will discuss the benefits and potential complications of the recommended treatment.
Seizure care involves multidisciplinary care from many departments, including:
- Critical Care
- Infectious Diseases
- Rehabilitation and Development
Groups, Classes & Support
Support groups provide an opportunity to share your feelings and connect with other parents and caregivers who are experiencing similar struggles.
Learn more about pediatric support groups offered at Penn State Children’s Hospital.