Detection of seizure activity in the paralyzed neonate using continuous monitoring.
In experimental animals neurologic damage may occur during seizure activity whether the seizure is accompanied by motor activity and hypoxemia or whether the animal is paralyzed and normoxemic. These findings suggest that it may be important to detect seizure activity in the paralyzed neonate. Nine infants who were mechanically ventilated and paralyzed with pancuronium had their condition diagnosed as seizure activity. Vital signs were continuously monitored and six infants had either oxygen saturation or transcutaneous oxygen measured during seizure activity. For the group as a whole, rhythmic fluctuations in vital signs, cardiac rhythm, and oxygenation occurred every four minutes (range one to seven minutes) and lasted two minutes (range one to four minutes). In seven patients whose seizures were not accompanied by cardiac arrhythmias the following mean increases were noted: systolic arterial blood pressure, 15 mm Hg (range 7 to 36 mm Hg); heart rate, ten beats per minute (-11 to 30/min); oxygen saturation, 12% (range 4% to 20%); and transcutaneous oxygen, 31 mm Hg (range 14 to 45 mm Hg). Seizures in the two patients with cardiac arrhythmias were accompanied by a decrease in systolic arterial blood pressure of 27 mm Hg (range 15 to 40 mm Hg) and in oxygen saturation of 24% (range 20% to 28%). The presence of rhythmic fluctuation in vital signs and oxygenation should alert the physician to the possibility of seizure activity in the paralyzed neonate.
Goldberg, RN; Goldman, SL; Ramsay, RE; Feller, R
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