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Prevalence of Febrile Seizures, Epilepsy, and Other Paroxysmal Attacks in a Swedish Cohort of 4-Year-Old Children.

Journal article
Authors Gill Nilsson
Elisabeth Fernell
Thomas Arvidsson
Brian Neville
Ingrid Olsson
Christopher Gillberg
Published in Neuropediatrics
Volume 47
Issue 6
Pages 368-373
ISSN 1439-1899
Publication year 2016
Published at Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre
Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Pediatrics
Pages 368-373
Language en
Keywords febrile seizures - epilepsy - paroxysmal attacks - preschool children - prevalence
Subject categories Child and adolescent psychiatry


A questionnaire about any type of seizures was distributed to parents at the children's 4-year health surveillance at Child Healthcare Centers in Gothenburg, Sweden, to analyze the prevalence of febrile seizures (FS), epilepsy, and other paroxysmal attacks. Parents who reported any kind of seizures in their child were subsequently contacted by telephone to confirm the information given and to invite the child to a clinical assessment. In addition, hospital registers and individual records were checked of the appropriate age group as regards a diagnosis of epilepsy or febrile seizures. Parents of 4,290 of 6,076 eligible children (71%) completed the questionnaire. For 252 children (5.9%), any type of paroxysmal attack was reported: FS in 157/4,290 children (3.7%), epilepsy in 22/4,290 (0.5%), and other paroxysmal attacks in 75/4,290 (1.7%). Epilepsy developed in 4 out of 157 (2.5%) children with FS before their fifth birthday. This population-based study, covering all types of paroxysmal attacks in preschool children revealed a total prevalence of nearly 6%, the largest group being FS. The total rate of paroxysmal attacks in preschool children is equal to the rate of developmental/neuropsychiatric disorders in this age group. The conditions constitute a large group in pediatrics and entail considerable concern among parents.

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