A first-time seizure in a child can be scary.
The neurologists and other specialists at Norton Children’s Neuroscience Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, are skilled at determining the precise cause of your child’s first seizure and whether more are likely.
Our board-certified and fellowship-trained team of neurologists and neurosurgeons use state-of-the-art diagnostic tools along with their extensive experience to pinpoint a diagnosis.
It’s one reason Norton Children’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center has held the highest rating available from the National Association of Epilepsy Centers since 2013.
Our specialists use their skills and experience to create a customized treatment plan after a child’s first seizure to help your child can get back to being a kid again. We’ll evaluate what type of seizure may have occurred, what may have caused the seizure and risk factors for future seizures.
A child’s first seizure may lead to an epilepsy diagnosis, but not always.
Imaging to Evaluate the Brain
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). MRI is performed on a 3T (magnet) scanner to look for subtle abnormalities in the brain structure.
- Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The fMRI looks at real-time changes in the brain as the child performs tasks such as reading, listening to words or moving arms and legs. This helps to locate these functions within the brain.
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scan. This test evaluates areas of the brain that are metabolizing sugar faster or slower than other areas. This helps identify the area of the brain where partial seizures start.
After a child’s first seizure, it’s not uncommon to perform routine outpatient electroencephalography (EEG). During this painless 20- to 40-minute procedure, 20 electrodes are placed on the scalp to monitor brainwaves. The information enables team members to better define the seizures. The team may obtain long-term EEG monitoring by video, which typically captures any seizures.
Our team also may perform intracranial EEG monitoring by placing electrodes on the surface of the brain and inside the brain tissue. This procedure pinpoints where seizures begin in the brain. Norton Children’s Hospital offers state-of-the-art stereo EEG for this kind of monitoring.
This specialized testing helps locate certain functions of the brain, such as language and memory. A neuropsychologist performs this test.
Additional tests for locating language or memory in the brain include a Wada test (named for Juan Wada, M.D., who first performed it). This involves putting one area of the brain “to sleep” so that another area of the brain can be tested.
A Wada test may be performed if neuropsychological testing and fMRI do not provide enough information.