Assessment of the necessity of routine lumber puncture among children with fever and convulsions


The routine investigation of doing lumbar puncture in patient with febrile convulsion is increasing practiced in many hospital.


The aim of this study was to assess the necessity of routine lumbar puncture (LP) to diagnose meningitis in children who present with fever and convulsions.


This is an observational, cross-sectional, hospital-based study, carried out in Mohammed AL-Amin Hamid pediatrics hospital-Omdurman Sudan, during the period from the first of January through 31 July 2018. It involved all (146) children aged 5 months to 6years , who presented with fever and convulsions, undergone lumbar puncture, and  parents signed  written informed consents. Children with known neurological diseases were excluded from this study. Data collected included, age, gender, convulsions type and duration, post-ictal state, routine vaccination status, general condition, recent antibiotics use, past history of fever and convulsions, temperature degree, signs of meningeal irritation, and conscious level. Data were analyzed by Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 23.


The result revealed that total number of 146 children, male were 62% (n=91), female were 38% (n=55).  5-11 months  35.6% (n=52)  1-3years 43.8% (n=64), and 4-6 years 20.6% (n=30). About 80% of the patients were younger than 4 years of age.  Convulsion was generalized in 97.9%, lasted less than  15 minutes in 99.3%, spontaneously aborted in 94.5%, post-ictal state was brief in 88.4%, first attack in 98.6%, and there was no family history in 97.3%,p=0.000. There was no neck stiffness and photophobia in 92.5% and 98.6% respectively, p=0.000. Patients general condition were well in 76.7% and toxic in 23.3%. Cerebrospinal fluids (CSF) color was clear in 97% and turbid in 3% of patients. CSF white cells was less than  5 in 93.8%, and CSF sugar and protein were normal in 97.3% and 96.6 % respectively, p=0.000. CSF culture was negative for all patients, and almost all (97%, n=141) of the patients were diagnosed as febrile convulsions and sent home, compared to 3% (n=5) who were diagnosed clinically as meningitis.


This study revealed that, CSF culture was negative for all patients, and almost all were diagnosed as febrile convulsions. However, 5 patients were diagnosed clinically as meningitis. Hence, this findings, challenge the routine lumbar puncture in children who present with fever and convulsion.