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Pediatr Res. 2011 Nov;70(5):535-40. doi: 10.1038/pr.2011.760.

Risk factors for epilepsy in children with neonatal encephalopathy.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143, USA. hannah.glass@ucsf.edu


We examined neonatal predictors of epilepsy in term newborns with neonatal encephalopathy (NE) by studying children enrolled in a longitudinal, single center cohort study. Clinical data were obtained through chart review, and MRI was performed in the neonatal period. We administered a seizure questionnaire to parents of children aged ≥ 12 mo (range, 12 mo to 16.5 y) to determine the outcome of epilepsy. The association between clinical predictors and time to onset of epilepsy was assessed using Cox proportional hazards regression. Thirteen of 129 children developed epilepsy: all had neonatal seizures and brain injury on neonatal MRI. Of the newborns with neonatal seizures, 25% (15.8/1000 person-years) developed epilepsy, with the highest hazard ratios (HRs) in the newborns with status epilepticus (HR, 35.8; 95% CI, 6.5-196.5). Children with severe or near-total brain injury were more likely to develop epilepsy compared with those with only mild or moderate injury (HR, 5.5; 95% CI, 1.8-16.8). In a multivariable analysis adjusting for degree of encephalopathy and severe/near-total brain injury, status epilepticus was independently associated with epilepsy. These data add to information regarding epilepsy pathogenesis and further aid clinicians to counsel parents regarding the likelihood that a newborn with NE will develop epilepsy.

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