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Can J Neurol Sci. 1980 Nov;7(4):285-90.

Seizures following intracranial surgery: incidence in the first post-operative week.


Consecutive craniotomies (118) drawn from major hospitals, and performed for disorders other than epilepsy or acute trauma were reviewed. The final diagnosis included tumor (70), subdural hematoma (13), aneurysm (10), arteriovenous malformation (7), and miscellaneous lesions (18). Eighty-seven (73.7%) patients had not experienced seizures prior to neurosurgery, 11 of these (12.6%) had a seizure within the first week, in six the attack occurred within 24 hours, and of these three had further attacks. In contrast, of the 31 patients (26.3%) that had one or more seizures prior to operation, 11 patients (35.5%) had seizures within the first week. In ten patients seizures occurred within the first 24 hours and of these seven had one or more recurrences later in the week. Anticonvulsant drugs were administered to 72 patients before operation, including all those with a history of seizures, but loading doses were not utilized to ensure therapeutic levels. In patients with predisposing factors to postoperative seizures, anticonvulsant drugs should be administered before or immediately following craniotomy in adequate dosage to rapidly achieve and maintain effective plasma levels. Phenytoin, owing to its minimal sedative effects is the drug of choice. A loading dose of 18 milligrams per kilogram can be safely administered as an admixture to an intravenous infusion of 0.9% saline with careful monitoring of cardiopulmonary function.

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