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Epilepsia. 2011 Jun;52(6):1130-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2011.03070.x. Epub 2011 Apr 19.

Continuous video-EEG monitoring in pediatric intensive care units.

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1
Division of Pediatric Neurology, Phoenix Children's Hospital, Phoenix, Arizona, USA. kwilliams@phoenixchildrens.com

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Several studies indicate a higher occurrence than might be expected of seizures in intensive care unit patients, many of which are not clinically apparent. Few of these studies are devoted exclusively to pediatric patients. The purpose of this study is to determine the occurrence of seizures in a cohort of pediatric and neonatal intensive care unit patients.

METHODS:

Long-term video electroencephalography (EEG) monitoring studies performed in the pediatric and neonatal intensive care units were reviewed. Age, gender, diagnosis, EEG background, epileptiform activity, time of onset and duration of seizures, presence of electroclinical or electrographic seizures, and survival were collected.

KEY FINDINGS:

One hundred thirty-eight recordings encompassing 122 patients were identified. Thirty-four percent of the sessions identified seizures in the first 24 h (38% of the cohort experienced a seizure at some time during monitoring, which ranged from 1-22 days): 17% captured only electroclinical seizures, 49% were electrographic only, and 34% had both electroclinical and electrographic seizures. Seventy percent of those patients experiencing seizures had their first seizure within the first hour of EEG recording. Younger age and epileptiform activity (including periodic) were associated with the occurrence of seizures. Diagnoses of head trauma and status epilepticus/recent prior seizure were more likely than other at-risk diagnoses to be associated with seizures; cardiac arrest managed with hypothermia was less likely to be associated with seizures. One-fourth of the recordings identified nonepileptic events.

SIGNIFICANCE:

Seizures occurred in one-third of critically ill pediatric patients at risk for seizures who underwent video-EEG monitoring, and many of these seizures did not have a clinical correlate. In those at risk for seizures in intensive care units, there should be a low threshold for obtaining long-term monitoring.

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