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Diagnosing a 6 Year old with possible seizures

My 6 year old daughter is possibly having sezires. 

Her symptoms are strange.  She is tired a lot.  She will sleep for 12 plus hours a night 2-3 nights a week and naps 2 to 3 times a week.  With her being tired she cannot focus and is having signs of ADD in school.  She is smart but cannot stay on task.  Has any one had this experience? 

A sleep study showed possible seizure activity but a 1 hour sleep depravation EEG and 48 hour video EEG showed nothing.  I was told that since the EEG is more extensive that the sleep study was wrong. 

She is going in for an MRI but I expect they will find nothing.  I just read about MEGs.  Should I push for a MEG?  Has any one had expereince with an EEG being normal and the MEG showing something? 

There is a strong family history of seizures.  I am stuggling with what is going on and I do not like seizure medicine. 


I can maybe help you with my experience in the past year in getting diagnosed with the particular type of seizures I have been having for 21 years. I can aslo help you as my career as a nurse at the hospital in the neurology department.

This past year I finally went to UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and got the proper diagnosis and treatment for my complex partial seizures. None of the EEG's I'd Had in the past showed the abnormal electrical activity. I had a total of 6 EEG's and none of them showed anything. I went to UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and the only test they performed on me that was able to "correctly" diagnose my seizures and pinpoint the location they were starting was the Video/EEG since they induced seizures on me. I had to stay in the hospital for 4 days to have enough seizures where they were sure they pinpointed the origin of my seizures. They  tried scanning me with the PET scan. It showed up clear as well. I have even had a MEG scan once in the past year and it still didn't show anything up either. The MRI's and CT scans I had before didn't show anything.  Most of the time, you will not find anything significant like scar tissue or a malignant tumor in the brain to be causing the seizures which is about the only thing that can really make the machines give notice to the electrical activity in your brain. To be truthful, they are not as accurate as EEG's.

Although from the sound of it, you have experience due to your family history with some of the seizure medications. I must admit like nearly everyone else I have talked to in person who has been on anti-convulsants, there have been good and bad medications. I can say however that I am currently on Carbatrol and Keppra. They are the best two medication I have been on in all the 21 years and are also the most effective so far. They even make me more energetic but no so much to make it seem like I have ADHD. The only thing I have had to do due to the high dosage of Keppra is be put on a sedative to take at night so I can sleep easily. It has helped me stay awake even in the boring college classes I am taking to advance my nursing career. There are always the good, the bad, and the ugly. It is probably better to take the chance with medications if you are unable to find the origin of the seizures until you are able to.

My daughter had a 2 day video EEG.  This found nothing.  How did they induce seizures? 

My daughter is 7 years old and is experiencing similar symptoms as your daughter.  We had a one hour EEG which showed atypical activity when they asked her to hyperventilate but other wise the result was normal.  We have an MRI scheduled 11/7 and then will do a 3day VEEG later in the month.  With the history of your family I would continue to monitor your daughter and maybe start a journal.  Absence seizures and atypical absence seizures can be tricky to diagnose and can mimic ADD (according to my daughter's doctor.)

It is a very difficult situation indeed and totally understand your apprehension and frustration.  My daughter's dr told me that an EEG can not always diagnose seizure activity.  A person with a seizure condition can have a normal EEG and a person without a seizure condition can have an abnormal EEG about 5-10% of the time. He further went on to explain that the reason petit mal seizures are hard to diagnose in children is because we can only go by what we observe, what they tell us, tests, family history (ugh) and gut instincts.  But then after all this trying to determine if medicine is prudent, the right type etc. like for other childhood diseases that are case specific we have to play the medicine roulette to find right type, right dose etc.

I'm sorry I don't really think I helped you all that much.  I guess I just really should have said I know how your feeling and to let you know you are not alone.

best wishes,

Lils mom 

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