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Epilepsia. 1991 Jan-Feb;32(1):69-76.

Postnatal epilepsy after EEG-confirmed neonatal seizures.

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Division of Neurology, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, PA 19104.


We examined infants whose neonatal seizures were confirmed by randomly recorded ictal EEG tracings to determine the types and frequency of postnatal epilepsy (PNE)--unprovoked, recurring postnatal seizures. Perinatal and postnatal clinical and EEG variables were also examined for their relevance to PNE. Forty infants with EEG-documented neonatal seizures of diverse etiologies were studied. The 27 survivors were followed for a mean of 31 months. PNE developed in 56% (15 of 27) of the cohort. The first seizure appeared at a mean-corrected age of 12.7 months and occurred despite ongoing antiepileptic medication in 60% (9 of 15) of the group. Seizures were classified as infantile spasms or minor motor (7 patients), complex partial (4 patients), or generalized tonic-clonic (4 patients). Perinatal variables that significantly correlated with PNE included the presence of coma but not the age at seizure onset, the estimated gestational age, or Apgar scores. PNE occurred in 68% (13 of 19) of patients with moderately or markedly abnormal EEG backgrounds but in only 25% (2 of 8) without (p = 0.035). There was a strong trend for PNE to develop in patients with greater than 10 electrographic seizures per hour but in only 45% (9 of 20) of infants with fewer seizures (p = 0.058). Several postnatal variables were significantly related to PNE--the presence of cerebral palsy (CP), mental retardation (MR), CP with MR, and follow-up EEGs. PNE occurred in only 27% (3 of 11) of patients without spikes or sharp waves on postnatal EEGs performed at age 3 months but in 100% (3 of 3) of patients with spikes or sharp waves (p = 0.022).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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