Characterization of Death in Infants With Neonatal Seizures.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

BACKGROUND: Neonatal seizures are associated with death and neurological morbidity; however, little is known about how neonates with seizures die. METHODS: This was a prospective, observational cohort study of neonates with seizures treated at seven sites of the Neonatal Seizure Registry. We characterized the mode of death, evaluated the association between infant characteristics and mode of death, and evaluated predictors of death or transfer to hospice. RESULTS: We enrolled 611 consecutive neonates with seizures, and 90 neonates (15%) died before hospital discharge at a median age of 11 days (range: 1 to 163 days); 32 (36%) died in the first postnatal week. An additional 19 neonates (3%) were transferred to hospice. The most common mode of in-hospital death was death after extubation amidst concerns for poor neurological prognosis, in the absence of life-threatening physiologic instability (n = 43, 48%). Only one infant died while actively receiving cardiopulmonary resuscitation. In an adjusted analysis, premature birth (odds ratio: 3.06, 95% confidence interval 1.59 to 5.90) and high seizure burden (odds ratio: 4.33, 95% confidence interval 1.88 to 9.95) were associated with increased odds of death or transfer to hospice. CONCLUSION: In a cohort of neonates with seizures, death occurred predominantly after decisions to withdraw or withhold life-sustaining intervention(s). Future work should characterize how these decisions occur and develop optimized approaches to support families and clinicians caring for newborns with seizures.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Lemmon, ME; Bonifacio, SL; Shellhaas, RA; Wusthoff, CJ; Greenberg, RG; Soul, JS; Chang, T; Chu, CJ; Bates, S; Massey, SL; Abend, NS; Cilio, MR; Glass, HC; Neonatal Seizure Registry,

Published Date

  • December 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 113 /

Start / End Page

  • 21 - 25

PubMed ID

  • 32980743

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC7669564

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1873-5150

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2020.08.002


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States