Factors influencing posttraumatic seizures in children

Yoon S. Hahn*, Susan Fuchs, Ann M. Flannery, Martha J. Barthel, David G. McLone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


The ideal treatment of children with head trauma would include prevention of posttraumatic seizures. Ninety-two of 937 children with head injuries (9.8%) experienced posttraumatic seizures. In 94.5% of these patients (87 of 92), seizures developed within the first 24 hours after injury. Three children convulsed between 24 hours and 7 days, but only 2 children developed seizures after the 1st week. Factors found to influence the likelihood of seizures included severe head injury (GCS, 3 to 8), diffuse cerebral edema, and acute subdural hematoma (P < 0.001). Seizures occurred in 35% of severely head-injured children compared to 5.1% with minor head injury (P < 0.001). A less significant correlation (P < 0.1) was noted between seizures and open, depressed skull fractures. We found no significant correlation between seizure occurrence and numerous other factors including age, sex, fracture location and type (other than open, depressed fractures), parenchymal injuries, fixed neurological deficits, and cranial operation. Based on our observations, we recommend the prophylactic use of anticonvulsants in children at higher risk for posttraumatic seizures: those with diffuse cerebral edema, acute subdural hematoma, open, depressed skull fracture with parenchymal damage, or severe head injury (GCS ≤ 8).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)864-867
Number of pages4
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1988


  • Anticonvulsant medication
  • Diffuse cerebral edema
  • Early seizure
  • Glasgow coma scale
  • Late seizure
  • Parenchymal injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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