Childhood Seizures and Epilepsy

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Children who experience frequent seizures require sensitive, compassionate, and knowledgeable care. As a Level 4 Epilepsy Center -- a designation given by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers -- we provide the highest level of epilepsy care. Our pediatric epileptologists have advanced training and years of experience treating children with seizure disorders and epilepsy -- especially refractory epilepsy, which causes frequent seizures that can’t be controlled with medication. We help children with seizure disorders and epilepsy live seizure-free lives.

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Types of Childhood Seizure Disorders and Epilepsy

Our pediatric epileptologists care for children and adolescents with all types of seizures and epilepsy, including rare conditions that are difficult to diagnose accurately and treat effectively. These include:

Genetic Conditions 
These include febrile-induced paroxysmal weakness and encephalopathy (FIPWE), epileptic encephalopathy, relapsing encephalopathy with cerebellar ataxia (RECA), CAPOS syndrome, and more.

First-Time Seizures
We work to confirm whether the event was a seizure and then develop a comprehensive treatment plan.

Rasmussen Encephalitis
Our pediatric epileptologists collaborate with Duke pediatric rheumatologists and other specialists to treat this autoimmune brain disorder that is characterized by uncontrolled seizures. 

Tuberous Sclerosis Complex
Epilepsy is one of the primary manifestations of tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). Duke is a designated Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Center of Excellence according to the TSC Alliance.

Degenerative and Developmental Epileptic Encephalopathy (DDEE)
DDEE is characterized by the loss of neurological functions and/or worsening epilepsy. Your child’s DDEE care team includes pediatric epileptologists and experts in physiatry, psychology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, and hematology/oncology.

Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood (AHC) and Related Channelopathies
Duke is one of the few hospitals staffed by specialists able to distinguish between weakness and muscle spasms associated with AHC and epileptic seizures. 

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Childhood Seizure and Epilepsy Treatments

Duke offers a wide range of treatments to control your child’s seizures.

Anti-Seizure Epilepsy Medication

Many anti-seizure medications are available. Our pediatric epileptologists are experienced in determining which drugs are safest and most effective for your child. In fact, we are one of the few epilepsy centers to offer “precision medicine,” a new, personalized approach that combines the sciences of drugs and genetics to develop medications that specifically target your child’s individual chemistry.

Ketogenic Diet

A low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet can help control seizures. Duke’s team of specialists -- including a pediatric epileptologist, dietician or nutritionist, nurse coordinator, and pharmacy staff -- work together to help manage your child’s diet and epilepsy medications.

Implantable Devices and Epilepsy Surgery

We offer the full range of neurostimulation devices and surgical options for children with epilepsy. 

Our Locations

Duke Health offers locations throughout the Triangle. Find one near you.

Why Choose Duke

Experience Treating the Most Complicated Seizures in Children
Our team’s experience using the latest advances in treatment for children with uncontrolled seizures and epilepsy means we can offer solutions that other centers cannot.

Comprehensive Team Approach
Many specialists contribute to your child’s epilepsy evaluation and care plan. Our team includes experts in pediatric neurology, cardiology, psychiatry, medical genetics, neurodevelopment, neuropsychology, neuroradiology, physical and occupational therapy, speech therapy, and sleep medicine. We have extensive experience and specialize in caring for children with seizure disorders.

We Partner with You, Your Child, and Your Local Doctor
Our pediatric epileptologists help families learn how to manage seizures and epilepsy at home, when to seek emergency care, how to manage medications and get psychological support, and more. If you don’t live near Duke, we collaborate with your local doctors, so your child receives the most comprehensive care possible.

Developmental Support
We offer a specialized developmental epilepsy clinic for children with refractory epilepsy that affects learning and development. Our pediatric epileptologists partner with genetic and developmental neurologists to help your child reach their full potential.

Clinical Trial Access
Our pediatric epilepsy experts participate in clinical trials that may give your child access to therapies that are not yet widely available. This can be beneficial when treatment options are limited.

Modern, Convenient Facilities
Our new Duke Central Tower houses large patient rooms and comfortable accommodations for pediatric patients and their families, including beds for parents. Our outpatient clinics are located throughout the Triangle.

Advanced Technology
We offer innovative evaluation services, neurodiagnostic monitoring, and new “augmented reality” and 3D-printing tools for increased surgical accuracy. 

Lifelong Care
Specialized care doesn’t end when your child reaches adulthood. As a comprehensive epilepsy center, we partner with Duke’s adult epilepsy program to transfer your child’s care when the time is right. 

Breakthrough Research
Our doctors participate in research to better understand epilepsy and related diseases. Duke researchers discovered the ATP1A3 gene mutation that is now known to be a leading cause of alternating hemiplegia of childhood. This breakthrough paved the way for additional research that may one day lead to effective new treatments and possibly a cure. 

Level 4 Epilepsy Center - Peds

As a Level 4 Epilepsy Center, Duke Health provides the highest level of diagnosis, medical, and surgical treatments for children with epilepsy. It is one of the reasons why Duke Children’s is nationally ranked in pediatric neurology and pediatric neurosurgery by U.S. News & World Report for 2023-2024.

This page was medically reviewed on 10/13/2022 by