First Seizure Evaluation

Every year, tens of thousands of children need medical attention because of a first or newly diagnosed seizure.  At Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, our specialists evaluate children—from infants to teens—who experience an unprovoked or prolonged seizure.

Our First Seizure Clinic includes a team of pediatric neurologists who specialize in epilepsy and specially trained nurse practitioners. We evaluate patients to determine the seizure’s type, cause and risk of recurrence. When children need ongoing treatment, we work with patients and their families to develop individualized care plans.

Why Choose Gillette?

  • Our experienced neurologists collaborate with families to find the best care path for each child.
  • Our neurodiagnostic services include electroencephalograms (EEGs) and video electroencephalograms (VEEGs) to assist in diagnosing conditions such as epilepsy and seizures.
  • We offer neuroimaging tests—including MRI and computed tomography (CT)—to provide information crucial to making a diagnosis.
  • We ensure excellent communication with patients by having a team of physicians and nurses who work closely together.

About Seizures

A seizure is a temporary change in brain function caused by an abnormal electrical discharge. Seizures range from mild to severe. Signs that someone is having a seizure can include involuntary behaviors, such as staring spells or jerking body movements. Seizures also can cause a person to fall, lose consciousness or have trouble breathing.


About First Seizure Evaluations

When a child’s first seizure is unprovoked (not triggered by trauma, hypoglycemia or fever), it’s important to determine if the child has epilepsy or an underlying neurological disorder. Once a child has had one seizure, there’s a heightened risk for more. That’s why it’s important for family members and other caregivers to recognize signs of new seizures—and be prepared to respond if any occur.

Specialists at Gillette’s first seizure evaluation will:

  • Discuss the seizures’ type, cause and risk of recurrence
  • Develop an appropriate treatment plan, if needed
  • Educate patients and their families about seizures and what precautions will help ensure the child’s safety during a seizure
  • Teach families how to recognize and monitor seizures
  • Teach families when and how to use rescue medications

What to Expect

We use many methods to evaluate patients who have a first seizure. Our goal is to determine the type of seizure occurring and to uncover its underlying cause. That allows us to develop the most effective treatment plan.

A nurse practitioner, who specializes in seizure disorders, takes a detailed history of the patient and completes a physical examination. If the patient is a young child or has complex medical or developmental conditions, he or she will have a neurology evaluation the same day. Patients typically undergo an EEG, and a pediatric neurologist interprets the findings.


Forming a Treatment Plan

Depending on the findings from the first seizure evaluation, Gillette specialists work closely with patients and families to develop a treatment plan best suited to their needs. We might recommend that families simply monitor their child. In some cases, we might not prescribe medication unless a second seizure occurs. If the evaluation reveals an abnormal EEG or we find an abnormality in the MRI, we might recommend the following treatments for seizures and epilepsy.

Medical Treatments

Medical treatments can include antiepileptic medications. At Gillette, our comprehensive diagnostic evaluations help us identify which medications are best suited to treat a patient’s seizures. In some cases, exploring various medications and doses helps our patients achieve the best possible results.

Dietary Treatments

For some patients with severe epilepsy, a strictly controlled diet can decrease or eliminate seizures. Gillette specializes in providing the following highly controlled dietary treatments for epilepsy:

Vagus Nerve Stimulator

Some patients who have epilepsy benefit from implantation of a vagus nerve stimulator (VNS) to control seizures. Our neurosurgeons specialize in that procedure, having implanted more than 100 VNS devices. We also offer consultations, support and referrals for patients who might benefit from other neurosurgical procedures.


Our First Seizure Evaluation Services

Patients who are diagnosed with seizures or epilepsy need complete diagnostic services and a team of experts to provide comprehensive care.

At Gillette, a patient’s first seizure evaluation typically involves experts in:

Neurology (pediatric neurologists, epileptologists, and Neurology nurse practitioners)
• Nursing (both inpatient and outpatient)

For more information see epilepsy and seizures at Gillette. To learn more about related services, search Conditions and Care.