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Febrile Seizures Tied to Systemic Respiratory Alkalosis

Children with gastroenteritis may not have febrile seizures due to low pH in gastroenteritis

TUESDAY, Sept. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Febrile seizures (FS) in children are associated with systemic respiratory alkalosis, and the lack of FS in children with gastroenteritis (GE) may be attributable to the low pH in GE, according to a study published online Sept. 13 in Epilepsia.

Sebastian Schuchmann, M.D., Ph.D., from Charité University Medicine Berlin, and colleagues investigated the acid-base status of children who were admitted to the hospital for FS, and the possible protective effect of acidosis in GE against FS. A total of 433 age-matched children with similar levels of fever, of which 213 had FS and 220 had GE, were included in the analysis. The children's capillary pH and blood partial pressure of carbon dioxide (Pco2) were measured immediately upon hospital admission.

The investigators identified respiratory alkalosis and metabolic acidosis in children with FS and GE, respectively (average pH, 7.46 and 7.31; average Pco2, 29.5 and 37.7 mm Hg, respectively). None of the children who were admitted with GE were found to have FS. A subgroup of patients (15.7 percent) who were admitted for FS had GE, and their blood was seen to be more alkaline than in the GE-admitted children (pH 7.44). In eight patients who were admitted on separate occasions for FS and GE, the blood was more alkaline when admitted for FS and more acidic when admitted for GE without FS (average pH, 7.47 and 7.33, respectively).

"The results show that FS are associated with a systemic respiratory alkalosis, irrespective of the severity of the underlying infection as indicated by the level of fever. The lack of FS in GE patients is attributable to low pH," the authors write.

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