Childhood Epilepsy: When to Refer

Families turn to pediatricians and family medicine doctors when their child experiences an unexplained seizure that is not connected to another condition. Primary care physicians play a key role in the ongoing management of epilepsy in their patients, but there are times when it is recommended to refer to a neurologist or comprehensive epilepsy center for further diagnosis or treatment.  

Initial Referral  

If your patient experiences recurrent seizures, they should be referred to a pediatric neurologist for consultation. The pre-referral work-up may include:

  • Awake and asleep EEGs
  • MRI

Following the initial appointment, the consulting neurologist will provide you with recommendations for further evaluation and management.

Resistant Epilepsy Referrals

All patients with a diagnosis of treatment resistant, or intractable, epilepsy should be referred to a comprehensive epilepsy care center, like Valley Children’s, for additional management of epilepsy. Intractable, or resistant, epilepsy is defined as: failure of two appropriately chosen and used antiepileptic drug schedules to achieve sustained seizure freedom.

Find full neurology and neurosurgery referral guidelines here .

What Designates a Comprehensive Epilepsy Care Center?

The National Association of Epilepsy Centers designates centers that provide comprehensive diagnostic and treatment modalities and access to multidisciplinary teams to address comorbidities that are common in epilepsy.

Valley Children’s is the only Comprehensive Level 4 Epilepsy Center in the Central Valley, providing complete diagnostic evaluation including inpatient video electroencephalogram (EEG) monitoring, epilepsy surgery evaluation, access to epilepsy surgery, and a multidisciplinary team to address psychiatric and psychosocial issues.

If your pediatric patient has a suspected or confirmed neurological disorder, the Pediatric Neuroscience Center at Valley Children’s has the excellence and experience you need.