Early-life epilepsy after acute symptomatic neonatal seizures: A prospective multicenter study.

Journal Article (Journal Article;Multicenter Study)

OBJECTIVE: We aimed to evaluate early-life epilepsy incidence, seizure types, severity, risk factors, and treatments among survivors of acute neonatal seizures. METHODS: Neonates with acute symptomatic seizures born 7/2015-3/2018 were prospectively enrolled at nine Neonatal Seizure Registry sites. One-hour EEG was recorded at age three months. Post-neonatal epilepsy and functional development (Warner Initial Developmental Evaluation of Adaptive and Functional Skills - WIDEA-FS) were assessed. Cox regression was used to assess epilepsy-free survival. RESULTS: Among 282 infants, 37 (13%) had post-neonatal epilepsy by 24-months [median age of onset 7-months (IQR 3-14)]. Among those with post-neonatal epilepsy, 13/37 (35%) had infantile spasms and 12/37 (32%) had drug-resistant epilepsy. Most children with post-neonatal epilepsy had abnormal neurodevelopment at 24-months (WIDEA-FS >2SD below normal population mean for 81% of children with epilepsy vs 27% without epilepsy, RR 7.9, 95% CI 3.6-17.3). Infants with severely abnormal neonatal EEG background patterns were more likely to develop epilepsy than those with mild/moderate abnormalities (HR 3.7, 95% CI 1.9-5.9). Neonatal EEG with ≥3 days of seizures also predicted hazard of epilepsy (HR 2.9, 95% CI 1.4-5.9). In an adjusted model, days of neonatal EEG-confirmed seizures (HR 1.4 per day, 95% CI 1.2-1.6) and abnormal discharge examination (HR 3.9, 95% CI 1.9-7.8) were independently associated with time to epilepsy onset. Abnormal (vs. normal) three-month EEG was not associated with epilepsy. SIGNIFICANCE: In this multicenter study, only 13% of infants with acute symptomatic neonatal seizures developed post-neonatal epilepsy by age 24-months. However, there was a high risk of severe neurodevelopmental impairment and drug-resistant seizures among children with post-neonatal epilepsy. Days of EEG-confirmed neonatal seizures was a potentially modifiable epilepsy risk factor. An EEG at three months was not clinically useful for predicting epilepsy. These practice changing findings have implications for family counseling, clinical follow-up planning, and future research to prevent post-neonatal epilepsy.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Shellhaas, RA; Wusthoff, CJ; Numis, AL; Chu, CJ; Massey, SL; Abend, NS; Soul, JS; Chang, T; Lemmon, ME; Thomas, C; McNamara, NA; Guillet, R; Franck, LS; Sturza, J; McCulloch, CE; Glass, HC

Published Date

  • August 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 62 / 8

Start / End Page

  • 1871 - 1882

PubMed ID

  • 34212365

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1528-1167

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/epi.16978


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States