Journal Article

Lumbar Puncture in Children from an Area of Malaria Endemicity Who Present with a Febrile Seizure

Moses Laman, Laurens Manning, Ilomo Hwaiwhange, John Vince, Susan Aipit, Trevor Mare, Jonathan Warrel, Harin Karunajeewa, Peter Siba, Ivo Mueller and Timothy M. E. Davis

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 51, issue 5, pages 534-540
Published in print September 2010 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online September 2010 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/655679
Lumbar Puncture in Children from an Area of Malaria Endemicity Who Present with a Febrile Seizure

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Background. Although routine lumbar puncture (LP) is often recommended as part of the assessment of feverassociated seizures in children, accumulating evidence questions its value and reveals a decrease in its frequency. Our primary hypothesis was that children who present with a single seizure but with no clinical signs of meningism or coma do not require LP as part of initial diagnostic assessment.

Methods. We prospectively followed up 377 children aged 2 months through 10 years who presented with at least 1 fever-associated seizure to Modilon Hospital, Madang, Papua New Guinea, from November 2007 through July 2009. Clinical management was performed by hospital staff according to national pediatric guidelines.

Results. Of 188 children with a single seizure and 189 children with multiple seizures, 139 (73.9%) and 154 (81.5%), respectively, underwent a LP as part of their initial assessment. Of the 130 children with a single seizure but no evidence of meningism (ie, neck stiffness, positive Kernig's or Brudzinski's sign, and bulging fontanelle) or coma (Blantyre Coma Score ⩽2), none (95% confidence interval, 0%–3.6%) had proven or probable acute bacterial meningitis, and only 1 patient had viral encephalitis (subacute sclerosing panencephalitis). Eighty-one of these children (62.3%) had a final diagnosis of a simple febrile seizure. Proven or probable acute bacterial meningitis was more common in children with a single seizure and meningism or coma (10; 17.2%) and in those with multiple seizures without or with meningism or coma (2 [2.0%] and 30 [33.7%], respectively).

Conclusions. Initial LP is unnecessary when careful clinical assessment indicates features of a simple febrile seizure.

Journal Article.  4247 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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