A comparative study of serum zinc levels in children with febrile seizures and children with fever without seizures in an urban referral hospital

P. Sampathkumar, K. Suresh Kannan


Background: Febrile seizures are the most common cause of convulsions in children. However, the exact underlying etiology and the pathophysiological mechanisms are yet to be established. Various theories have been put forward regarding the role of trace elements as predisposing factors in causing the convulsions. Among them, Zinc is the most interesting trace element whose role in diarrhea and pneumonia is well proven. This study was done to know the correlation between zinc and febrile seizures, to estimate the serum levels of zinc in children with simple and complex febrile seizures and compare it with children with fever without seizures and to compare the levels of zinc in simple and complex febrile seizures.

Methods: The study was conducted for a period of 6 months in the Department of Paediatrics, GMKMCH, and Salem. The study population included the children between 6 months to 6 years. During the study period 60 consecutive children with simple febrile seizures, 40 consecutive children with complex febrile seizures and 200 consecutive children with fever without seizures formed the study group. Serum zinc levels were measured in the three groups by using the calorimetric method.

Results: The serum zinc levels were found to be low in 65% and 75% of children with simple and complex febrile seizures respectively. Only 20% of febrile children without convulsions had low zinc levels. Thus, a positive correlation was found between zinc deficiency and febrile convulsions.

Conclusions: This study establishes a definite relationship between zinc deficiency and febrile seizures thereby substantiating zinc as an important predisposing factor in febrile seizures.


Complex febrile convulsions, Fever, Simple febrile seizures, Zinc

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