American Academy of Nursing

View all recommendations from this society

March 21, 2017

Don’t routinely order an EEG on neurologically healthy children who have a simple febrile seizure.

Febrile seizures are the most commonly occurring seizures in the first 60 months of life. Caregiver anxiety can often lead to requests for neurodiagnostic testing. Attention should be directed at finding the cause of fever and treating it. Electroencephalogram (EEG) tests are costly and can increase caregiver and child anxiety without changing the outcome or course of treatment. EEG has not been shown to predict recurrence of febrile seizures or future epilepsy in patients with simple febrile seizures. EEG can be ordered for children that present with afebrile seizures, complex febrile seizures and in children with neurological insult.

These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a health professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their physician or nurse.

How The List Was Created

The American Academy of Nursing has convened a Task Force of member fellows who are leaders of professional nursing organizations representing a broad range of clinical expertise, practice settings and patient populations. The Task Force collaboratively identifies nursing/interdisciplinary interventions commonly used in clinical practice that do not contribute to improved patient outcomes or provide high value. An extensive literature search and review of practice guidelines is conducted for each new proposed recommendation for the list. The supporting evidence is then reviewed by the respective nursing organization(s) with the most relevant expertise to each recommendation. The Academy Task Force narrows the recommendations through consensus, based on established criteria. The final recommendations are presented to the American Academy of Nursing’s Board of Directors for approval to be added to the Choosing Wisely list created by the Academy. Once approved by the Academy’s Board of Directors, the recommended statements are sent to the ABIM Foundation for an external review by physician(s) and nurse(s) and final approval for consistency with the ABIM Foundation principles.

Recommendations were developed in partnership with the following organizations: Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN), recommendations 1, 11, 12, & 13; Academy’s Expert Panel on Aging, recommendations 2, 3, 14, 15, & 24; American Association of Critical- Care Nurses (AACN), recommendations 4 & 5; Oncology Nursing Society (ONS), recommendations 6, 7, 8, 9, & 10; American Association of Neuroscience Nurses (AANN), recommendations 16, 17, 18, 19, & 20; Academy’s Expert Panel on Acute & Critical Care, recommendation 21; Society of Pediatric Nurses (SPN), recommendation 22; American Pediatric Surgical Nurses Association, Inc. (APSNA), and the American Pediatric Surgical Association (APSA), recommendation 23; and the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN), American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA), and the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses (AANN), recommendation 25.

The American Academy of Nursing’s conflict of interests and disclosures policy can be found at


American Academy of Pediatrics Subcommittee on Febrile Seizures. (2011). Febrile seizures: guidelines for the neurodiagnostic evaluation of the child with a simple febrile seizure. Pediatrics, 127 (2), 389-394.

El-Radhi, A., Sahib, A. (2015). Management of seizures in children. British Journal of Nursing. 24 (3), 152-155.

Graves, R.C., Oehler, K., Tingle, L.E. (2012) Febrile seizures: risks, evaluation, and prognosis. American Family Physician. 15(85), 149-153.

Harini, C., Nagarajan, E., Kimia, A., de Carvalho, R., An, S., Bergin, A., Takeoka, M., Pearl, P., Loddenkemper, T. (2015) Utility of initial EEG in first complex febrile seizure. Epilepsy and Behavior. 52 (PT A), 200-204.

Oluwabusi, T., Sood, S.K. (2012) Update on the management of simple febrile seizures: Emphasis on minimal intervention. Current Opinion in Pediatrics. 24 (2) 259-265.