Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Incidence of and risk factors for epilepsy among survivors of acute symptomatic neonatal seizures

Glass HC, Numis AL, Gano D, Bali V, Rogers EE. Outcomes After Acute Symptomatic Seizures in Children Admitted to a Neonatal Neurocritical Care Service. Pediatr Neurol. 2018 Apr 20. pii: S0887-8994(17)31230-4. doi:10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2018.03.016. [Epub ahead of print]


Neonatal seizures due to acute brain injury are associated with high rates of death, disability, and epilepsy. Our objective was to examine incidence of and risk factors for epilepsy among survivors of acute symptomatic neonatal seizures who were cared for by a neonatal neurocritical care service.

Neonates with acute symptomatic seizures who were admitted to UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Neuro-Intensive Care Nursery from July 2008 to June 2014 were considered for inclusion.

A total of 144 children with acute symptomatic seizures met study criteria and 37 (26%) died before age one. Eighty-seven children (85% of eligible survivors) were followed up to one year or longer. Epilepsy was diagnosed in eight children at median age 4.9 (interquartile range 1.7, 6.1) years. The cumulative incidence risk of epilepsy at one year was 2% (95% confidence interval 0.6% to 9%) and at five years was 7% (95% confidence interval 3% to 20%). Cerebral palsy was diagnosed in 21%. Bayley-III cognitive subscale less than 85 was present in 13%. Children with epilepsy were more likely to be preterm, have brain injury, and be discharged home on antiseizure medication, although the results were not significant after adjusted analysis.

The risk of epilepsy was lower and age at onset was older than in previous reports, which may be related to multiple factors including a neurocritical care approach, treatment of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy with hypothermia, high rate of neonatal transition to palliative care, and the exclusion of neonatal onset epilepsies. Continuation of antiseizure medications in infancy did not decrease the risk of epilepsy. Long-term, multicenter studies are needed to understand whether neonatal seizure management can alter the risk of epilepsy.

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