Outcome of electroclinical, electrographic, and clinical seizures in the newborn infant

Dev Med Child Neurol. 1999 Dec;41(12):819-25. doi: 10.1017/s0012162299001632.


Three seizure types have been described in the neonate: electroclinical, electrographic, and clinical only. Controversy still exists about whether the episodic abnormal movements seen in some infants, which are not accompanied by simultaneous ictal discharges on the EEG, are true seizures. Twenty-four infants with seizures were studied, 17 had purely electrographic and/or electroclinical seizures, seven had clinical-only seizures; six of these seven had clonic seizures, without facial manifestations or autonomic change. The three seizure types were investigated using video-EEG and a Griffiths neurodevelopmental assessment was performed in each seizure group. Of the seven infants with clinical-only seizures, six had clonic seizures with a normal background EEG, neuroimaging studies and neurodevelopmental follow-up assessment were normal in five. In the remaining 17 infants with electrographic and/or electroclinical seizures, seizure discharges were often associated with ocular phenomena, apnoea, or tonic posturing, and the background EEG was abnormal in all but one subject. Neurodevelopmental follow-up assessments revealed a poor outcome (14 of 17) in this group. In otherwise healthy infants, purely clonic seizures involving only the limbs may be a benign phenomenon and an EEG should be obtained to avoid unnecessary treatment. Infants with seizures superimposed on an abnormal background EEG pattern had a poor outcome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Epilepsy, Tonic-Clonic / diagnosis*
  • Epilepsy, Tonic-Clonic / drug therapy
  • Epilepsy, Tonic-Clonic / etiology
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory, Brain Stem / physiology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Video Recording


  • Anticonvulsants