Neurologists at the South Texas Comprehensive Epilepsy Center are experts in diagnosing [link to testing & diagnosis page] and treating [link to treatment page] a wide variety of pediatric epilepsy conditions and other seizure disorders.
Epileptic seizures [link to health tools article] are unique to each patient. In a single day, a child may have numerous seizures that last only seconds, going unnoticed by others around them or the child may have a violent seizure lasting anywhere from one to five minutes or more.
Seizure symptoms in children may include a blank look, staring off into space, falling to the ground or shaking uncontrollably. Certain epileptic episodes may cause a loss of consciousness or impaired awareness. Details about symptoms, duration, severity and number of seizures play a role in helping to identify the type of seizure a child is experiencing.
Any change that affects the connections between nerve cells in the brain can cause a seizure. Epilepsy is suspected when at least two or more seizures have occurred at least 24 hours apart, often with no apparent cause.
Although this seizure disorder is common, its cause in each child is different. Some epileptic conditions are challenging and it’s difficult to pinpoint why the seizures are happening. With the use of advanced technology and neurological imaging tools, our epileptologists are able to diagnose and help children with complex cases.
Our epilepsy specialists study and carefully analyze your child’s brain activity to determine the cause and type of epilepsy your child is experiencing. Regardless of the cause of seizures, the goal for all our patients is to provide treatment therapies that stop or significantly reduce the number of seizures to improve quality of life.
The most common causes of childhood epilepsy include:
Epilepsy patients are at higher risk for a seizure when they’re tired, stressed or when they stop taking medication.
Types of Epilepsy in Children Are Varied and Complex
Epilepsy seizures are classified as focal or generalized seizures. [link over to video, shows adult but mentions children also] A focal seizure (partial or local seizure) happens when electrical disturbances impact a specific area of the brain.
A generalized seizure in children affects both sides of the brain. There is now a third category called unknown onset seizures. This is the case when no witness is present to describe the specific symptoms when the seizure begins.
Focal seizures can occur without the loss of consciousness or they may create impaired awareness. They tend to be brief, lasting only seconds to less than two minutes.
Generalized Onset Seizures affect groups of cells on both sides of the brain. These seizures are categorized as it relates to the type of movements, motor symptoms or non-motor symptoms that take place during the seizure.
The major categories of generalized seizures have these characteristics:
The type and location of the seizure within the brain will determine how each epilepsy condition, or epilepsy syndrome, is treated. Successful treatment for epilepsy conditions, depending on the severity, may involve only one medication, multiple anticonvulsant medications, minimally invasive procedures, major brain surgery or a combination of treatment therapies.
Epilepsy syndromes in children are usually characterized by a grouping of specific features. The major considerations in addition to type, cause and location of the seizures are:
Various types of epilepsy can cause development problems. It may affect your child’s ability to pay attention in school or impact learning and memory. Getting an early diagnosis for your child is important.
After our medical team analyzes the results of diagnostic tests and EEG video monitoring sessions, multiple epilepsy specialists from University Health System’s South Texas Comprehensive Epilepsy Center [link over to facilities page] consult and recommend an individual treatment and medical management plan for each child. Some of the pediatric epilepsy and seizure disorders we treat include: