Neonatal seizures: treatment practices among term and preterm infants

Pediatr Neurol. 2012 Feb;46(2):111-5. doi: 10.1016/j.pediatrneurol.2011.11.006.


Neonatal seizures are common clinical conditions in both term and preterm neonates, yet no clinical management guidelines for direct care exist. We surveyed 193 international neurologists, neonatologists, and specialists in neonatal neurology or neonatal neurocritical care to assess management practices for seizures in preterm and term neonates. We found high reported rates of electroencephalogram and amplitude-integrated electroencephalogram (aEEG) monitoring to detect neonatal seizures, prevalent use of older anticonvulsant agents, and high rates of neuroimaging. Overall, responses were similar for term and preterm neonates. However, term neonates were likelier to be more heavily investigated, with higher use of magnetic resonance imaging and of electroencephalogram and aEEG monitoring of at-risk neonates. Continuous monitoring and cranial imaging of neonatal seizures now comprise the standard of care in many centers, although management practices vary widely. Early recognition and management of neonatal seizures and possible underlying injury may lead to increased opportunities for stopping seizures, protecting the brain, and improving developmental outcomes in at-risk neonates. The need for collaboration among neonatologists and neurologists is urgent, to address gaps in knowledge regarding management of neonatal seizures in term and preterm neonates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'*
  • Seizures / diagnosis*
  • Seizures / drug therapy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Anticonvulsants