Neonatal seizures and outcome in a NICU of a tertiary care hospital of Andhra Pradesh-an two year study

Punith Patak Nagaram, Pratima Piduru, Venkata Krishna Munagala



Background: Seizures are the most frequent clinical manifestation of central nervous system dysfunction in the newborn with the incidence varying from 1-5%. Neonatal seizures often signal an underlying ominous neurological condition, most commonly hypoxia-ischemia, and others include stroke, intraventricular hemorrhage or intraparenchymal hemorrhage, meningitis, sepsis, and metabolic disorders. Neonatal seizures can permanently disrupt neuronal development, induce synaptic reorganization, alter plasticity and "prime" the brain to increased damage from seizures later in life. The present study was undertaken to delineate the various aspects of neonatal seizures, with special reference to etiology, clinical spectrum, and outcome in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of a tertiary care Hospital.

Methods: A prospective cross sectional study was conducted in an NICU of a tertiary care hospital with 65 neonates in the study group for a period of 2 years. Gestational age assessment is done by modified Ballard’s scoring system and detailed neurological assessment was done. Antenatal history of mother, demographic data, and clinical history of neonate was noted and evaluated. Laboratory investigations were done and results noted and outcome was recorded.

Results: Subtle seizure was the commonest (40%) clinical seizures in our study followed by tonic (21.5%). Tonic seizures were common in preterm and in full term subtle seizures. Babies with myoclonic seizures had 100% mortality. Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy was the commonest cause (41.5%) of mortality in our study. The worst outcome was with CNS malformation (50%). A total of 10 deaths were recorded (15.4%) with maximum association in cases with history of onset 7 days (100%).

Conclusions: Neonatal seizures are common and may be the first manifestation of neurological dysfunction after a variety of insults. Seizures may interfere with cardio-respiratory function and nutrition and may have detrimental effects on cerebral development. Global cerebral hypoxia-ischemia is the most common etiology of neonatal seizures, followed by intracranial bleed, hypoglycemia, septicemia, hypocalcemia, BE, CNS malformations. 


Ballard’s scoring system, Hypoxic ischemia, Myoclonic seizures, Neonatal seizures

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