Surge of Electrical Brain Activity in Children

Seizures are caused by a surge of electrical activity in the brain. Seizures can result in many different symptoms in children, from shaking to unresponsiveness. The pediatric experts at Penn State Children’s Hospital specialize in the evaluation and treatment of children, up to the age of 18, who have experienced seizures. We understand how frightening seizures can be for both children and parents – and we’re here to help. Our team takes a compassionate, family-centered approach to evaluating and treating our patients, starting at your very first visit.

The multidisciplinary team at Penn State Children’s Hospital includes care from many of our specialists, including neurosurgery, rehabilitation and development, critical care and infectious disease. Our team is here to diagnose your child and create a treatment plan to fit his or her needs.

Symptoms, Diagnosis and Outlook

During a seizure, your child might experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Chewing movements of the mouth
  • Collapsing
  • Jerking or twitching on one side of the body or face
  • Losing consciousness
  • Non-responsive
  • Rapid eye blinking
  • Shake uncontrollably
  • Staring

We know that your child’s health is your top priority – and it’s ours, too. At your child’s first appointment at Penn State Children’s Hospital, we will discuss your child’s seizure history, including seizure frequency and intensity Our team will perform a physical exam, review your child’s medical history and offer a variety of imaging tests, such as an electroencephalogram (EEG), MRI or blood tests.

Seizures can have a variety of causes, including:

  • Brain disorders
  • Epilepsy
  • Head injury 
  • Infection or fever
  • Low blood sugar
  • Medications

In many children, seizures occur once and never happen again. Seizures without an identified cause are called “idiopathic,” meaning there is no clearly defined reason for your child’s seizure. However, when seizures show a recurrent pattern, our team will perform tests, such as an electroencephalogram (EEG), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or blood tests, to confirm an epilepsy diagnosis.

There are many different types of epilepsy – and a variety of treatment options. If your child is diagnosed with epilepsy, the team at Penn State Children’s Hospital will determine the cause of the seizures, the type of epilepsy and the best treatment plan for your child.

In general, pediatric seizure patients have positive outcomes. With ongoing medical management, your child can engage in normal activities. Our team will work with you to create guidelines to fit your child’s growth and development needs.

Our Experts in Care

The experts at Penn State Children’s Hospital are committed to providing our pediatric patients with comprehensive, multidisciplinary seizure care.

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Why Choose Penn State Health for Care

Expert Pediatric Seizure Treatment

At Penn State Children’s Hospital, our experts will work with you and your child to determine the best treatment path. Each child’s seizure path is different, so our team will create a comprehensive treatment plan specifically for your child’s needs. Some children require no treatment at all if the seizure is determined to be an isolated event.

Children with repeated seizures might be prescribed antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) to help control seizure frequency. Other treatment options include:

  • A special high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that can minimize seizures
  • Vagal nerve stimulator, which produces pulses of electricity to stimulate the vagus nerve
  • Surgery to remove the areas of the brain causing seizures

Your child’s doctor will discuss the potential treatment benefits and complications before deciding on a treatment plan.

Commitment to Seizure Research

Penn State Children’s Hospital frequently participates in clinical trials to improve seizure diagnostics and care in children and adolescents. For more information on clinical trials at Penn State Children’s Hospital, please visit StudyFinder.

Support Groups

Support groups provide children and their families an opportunity to connect with others in similar situations. Learn more about the support groups offered at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital.

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