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Pediatr Res. 2011 Nov;70(5):535-40. doi: 10.1203/PDR.0b013e31822f24c7.

Risk factors for epilepsy in children with neonatal encephalopathy.

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Department of Neurology, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94143, USA.


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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