Variation in Prehospital Protocols for Pediatric Seizure within the United States

Sriram Ramgopal, Kerry McCans, Christian Martin-Gill, Sylvia Owusu-Ansah*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: The objective of this study was to compare statewide prehospital protocols for the management of pediatric seizures. Methods: We performed a descriptive analysis comparing statewide protocols for emergency medical services management of pediatric seizures within the United States, excluding states for which no statewide protocol/model was available. We compared antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), routes and doses of administration, and differences in febrile seizure management. Results: Of 50 states, 34 had either statewide protocols or models and were included. All had a protocol for the management of seizures and provided specific recommendations for the management of pediatric seizures. Twelve states (35%) preferentially recommended midazolam over other benzodiazepines. Thirty-two (94%) of 34 allowed for use of midazolam, with variable use of other AEDs. All allowed for use of intramuscular AED. Twenty-six (77%) allowed for intranasal AED. Nine (27%) allowed emergency medical services to administer a patient's own abortive AED, and 6 (18%) allowed for use of a patient's vagal nerve stimulator, when present. There was a wide variability with respect to dosing ranges for medications. Thirty-two (94%) of 34 included blood glucose measurement within the protocol. Twenty-one protocols (62%) provided recommendations for febrile seizures, including recommending active/passive cooling (8/34, 24%) and antipyretic administration (9/34, 26%). Conclusions: All statewide protocols carried specific guidelines for the prehospital management of pediatric seizures; however, there was wide variability with respect to specific AEDs, routes of administration, and drug dosages. In addition to broader availability of statewide guidance, areas of potential protocol improvement and research include AED dose optimization, reprioritization of blood glucose, and greater emphasis on intranasal or intramuscular medication dosing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1331-E1338
JournalPediatric emergency care
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Emergency medical services
  • Paramedic (Pediatr Emer Care 2021;37: e1331–e1338)
  • Prehospital
  • Seizure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Emergency Medicine


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