Risk Factors for a First Febrile Seizure: A Matched Case-Control Study

Authors

  • Anne T. Berg,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Allied Health Professions, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois
      Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. A. T. Berg at School of Allied Health Professions, Williston Hall, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115, U.S.A.
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  • Shlomo Shinnar,

    1. Departments of Neurology, The Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York
    2. Departments of Pediatrics, The Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York
    3. Montefiore Epilepsy Management Center, Bronx, New York
    4. The Sergievsky Center, Columbia University School of Medicine, New York, New York
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  • Eugene D. Shapiro,

    1. Department of Pediatrics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.A.
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  • Morton E. Salomon,

    1. Montefiore Epilepsy Management Center, Bronx, New York
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  • Ellen F. Crain,

    1. Montefiore Epilepsy Management Center, Bronx, New York
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  • W. Allen Hauser

    1. The Sergievsky Center, Columbia University School of Medicine, New York, New York
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  • Presented in part at the annual meeting of the Society for Pediatric Research, Baltimore, Maryland, May 1991.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. A. T. Berg at School of Allied Health Professions, Williston Hall, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115, U.S.A.

Abstract

Summary We conducted a matched casecontrol study to identify risk factors for first febrile seizures, with special emphasis on characteristics of the acute illness episode. Cases were identified through hospital emergency departments; controls were identified through outpatient clinics and emergency departments. Sixtynine children with first febrile seizures and no history of previous unprovoked seizures were matched for age (±6 months), site of routine pediatric care, and date of visit (±weeks) with 1 or 2 febrile controls who had no history of previous febrile or unprovoked seizures. Medical records for the index visit were reviewed, and parents were interviewed by telephone. Illness characteristics examined included height of temperature, type of underlying illness, contact with a physician during the illness but before the index visit, and use of acetaminophen or decongestants. Family history of febrile and of unprovoked seizures, sociodemographic characteristics, daycare use, and selected preand perinatal variables were also studied. On multivariable analysis, significant independent risk factors were height of temperature, history of febrile seizures in a firstor in a higher degree relative. Gastroenteritis as the underlying illness had a significant inverse (i.e., protective) association with febrile seizures. Maternal smoking during pregnancy was a marginally significant predictor of febrile seizures.

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