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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Factors Associated with Neuroimaging Abnormalities in Children with Afebrile Seizure: A Retrospective Multicenter Study


Introduction: Neuroimaging is recommended for patients with seizures to identify intracranial pathology. However, emergency physicians should consider the risks and benefits of neuroimaging in pediatric patients because of their need for sedation and greater sensitivity to radiation than adults. The purpose of this study was to identify associated factors of neuroimaging abnormalities in pediatric patients experiencing their first afebrile seizure.

Methods: This was a retrospective, multicenter study that included children who presented to the emergency departments (ED) of three hospitals due to afebrile seizures between January 2018–December 2020. We excluded children with a history of seizure or acute trauma and those with incomplete medical records. A single protocol was followed in the three EDs for all pediatric patients experiencing their first afebrile seizure. We performed multivariable logistic regression analysis to identify factors associated with neuroimaging abnormalities.

Results: In total, 323 pediatric patients fulfilled the study criteria, and neuroimaging abnormalities were observed in 95 patients (29.4%). Multivariable logistic regression analysis showed that Todd’s paralysis (odds ratio [OR] 3.72, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.03-13.36; P=0.04), absence of poor oral intake (POI) (OR 0.21, 95% CI 0.05-0.98; P=0.05), lactic acidosis (OR 1.16, 95% CI 1.04-1.30; P=0.01), and higher level of bilirubin (OR 3.33, 95% CI 1.11-9.95; P=0.03) were significantly associated with neuroimaging abnormalities. Based on these results, we constructed a nomogram to predict the probability of brain imaging abnormalities.

Conclusion: Todd’s paralysis, absence of POI, and higher levels of lactic acid and bilirubin were associated factors of neuroimaging abnormalities in pediatric patients with afebrile seizure.


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