Diagnosing Seizures In Children

The full extent of the seizure may not be completely understood immediately after onset of symptoms, but may be revealed with a comprehensive medical evaluation and diagnostic testing. The diagnosis of seizures in children is made with a physical examination and tests.

During the diagnostic examination, the physician obtains a complete medical history of the child and family and asks when the seizures occurred. Pediatric seizures may be due to neurological problems and require further medical follow up.

Pediatric seizure diagnostic tests may include:

  • blood tests
  • electroencephalogram (EEG) - a procedure that records the brain's continuous, electrical activity by means of electrodes attached to the scalp.
  • magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.
  • computed tomography scan (Also called a CT or CAT scan.) - a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images (often called slices), both horizontally and vertically, of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general x-rays.
  • lumbar puncture (spinal tap) - a special needle is placed into the lower back, into the spinal canal. This is the area around the spinal cord. The pressure in the spinal canal and brain can then be measured. A small amount of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) can be removed and sent for testing to determine if there is an infection or other problems. CSF is the fluid that bathes your child's brain and spinal cord

Learn more about the treatment of pediatric seizures.

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