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Epilepsy in Children


Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes seizures. It is also called a seizure disorder. A seizure means an abnormal area in your child's brain sometimes sends bursts of electrical activity. A seizure may start in one part of your child's brain, or both sides may be affected. Depending on the type of seizure, your child may have movements he or she cannot control, lose consciousness, or stare straight ahead. Your child may be confused or tired after the seizure. A seizure may last a few seconds or longer than 5 minutes. A birth defect, tumor, stroke, injury, or infection may cause epilepsy. The cause of your child's epilepsy may not be known. If the seizures are not controlled, epilepsy may become life-threatening.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.


  • Antiseizure medicine will help control your child's seizures.
  • Antianxiety medicine may been given for immediate control of a seizure. These may be given orally, rectally, or through an IV.


  • Pulse oximetry measures how much oxygen is in your child's blood.
  • Telemetry is a continuous monitoring of your child's heart rhythm.
  • Arterial blood gas (ABG) measures how much oxygen and carbon dioxide are in your child's blood.


  • Blood and urine tests will show if your child has an infection that may be causing seizures. These tests can also give information about his or her overall health.
  • An EEG records the electrical activity of your child's brain. It is used to find changes in the normal patterns of his or her brain activity.
  • CT or MRI pictures may be used to check for abnormal areas. Your child may be given contrast liquid to help his or her brain show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if your child has ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not let your child enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if your child has any metal in or on his or her body.
  • A PET scan is used to see activity in areas of your child's brain. Your child will be given radioactive material that helps healthcare providers see the activity better.
  • A SPECT scan uses radioactive material to find where the seizure started in your child's brain. This scan may be done if other scans do not show where the seizure started.


  • Oxygen may be given if your child's blood oxygen level is lower than it should be.
  • Surgery may help reduce how often your child has seizures if medicine does not help. Ask your child's healthcare provider for more information about surgery for epilepsy.


After a seizure your child may feel confused or have a headache. Epilepsy may increase your child's risk for difficulty sleeping, behavioral problems, depression, and anxiety. Seizures can cause serious injury or sudden death.


You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.