Seizures in children following an apparent life-threatening event

J Child Neurol. 2009 Jun;24(6):709-13. doi: 10.1177/0883073808329532. Epub 2009 Mar 16.


The characteristics of seizures and epilepsy in infants who have had an apparent life-threatening event have been poorly defined. Our objective was to characterize in depth the cohort of patients with apparent life-threatening events who developed seizures. We collected data from infants hospitalized for an apparent life-threatening event, and evaluated patients for subsequent seizures or chronic epilepsy. Of 471 patients with an apparent life-threatening event, 25 (5.3%) had seizures and 17 (3.6%) developed chronic epilepsy. There was no increased risk for febrile seizures. Abnormal brain magnetic resonance imaging results and developmental delay were only found in those patients who developed chronic epilepsy. Of those who developed chronic epilepsy, 47% were diagnosed with seizures within 1 week of their apparent life-threatening event. The discharge diagnosis at the time of the apparent life-threatening event was poorly predictive of those who developed seizures. In most cases the cause of chronic epilepsy was unknown, although cortical dysplasias made up a significant percentage (12%).

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain / pathology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Critical Illness*
  • Developmental Disabilities / complications
  • Epilepsy / epidemiology*
  • Epilepsy / etiology
  • Epilepsy / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk
  • Seizures / epidemiology*
  • Seizures / etiology
  • Seizures / pathology
  • Seizures, Febrile / epidemiology*
  • Seizures, Febrile / etiology
  • Seizures, Febrile / pathology
  • Sex Factors