Iron Status: A Possible Risk Factor for the First Febrile Seizure


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. A. Daoud at Departments of Pediatrics and Child Neurology, Jordan University of Science and Technology, P.O. Box 3030, Irbid 22110, Jordan. E-mail:


Summary:  Purpose: We conducted a controlled study to investigate the relation of iron status and first febrile seizure (FFS).

Methods: Measures of iron sufficiency including hemoglobin concentration (HB), mean corpuscular volume (MCV), mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH), and plasma ferritin (PF) were prospectively measured in 75 children with FFS and compared with 75 controls matched for age and sex with febrile illnesses without convulsions.

Results: Mean ferritin level was significantly lower in cases with FFS (29.5 ± 21.3 μg/L) than in controls (53.3 ± 37.6 μg/L) with p = 0.0001. The proportion of subjects with a PF level ≤30 μg/L was significantly higher among children with FFS (49 of 75 vs. 24 of 75) than in controls (p = 0.000). Mean levels of HB, MCV, and MCH also were lower among FFS cases, but differences failed to attain statistical significance. A higher proportion of cases with FFS had an HB <110 g/L, MCV <72 fL, and MCH <24 pg than did the controls, but the differences were not statistically significant. There were no statistically significant differences between the cases and the controls in the mean peak temperature on admission, types of underlying illness, or family history of epilepsy and of febrile convulsion.

Conclusions: PF level was significantly lower in children with FFS than in the reference group, suggesting a possible role for iron insufficiency in FFS.