Neonatal seizures are the most common manifestation of neurological disorders in the newborn period and an important determinant of outcome. Overall, for babies born at full term, mortality following seizures has improved in the last decade, typical current mortality rates being 10% (range: 7-16%), down from 33% in reports from the 1990s. By contrast, the prevalence of adverse neurodevelopmental sequelae remains relatively stable, typically 46% (range: 27-55%). The strongest predictors of outcome are the underlying cause, together with the background electroencephalographic activity. In preterm babies, for whom the outlook tends to be worse as background mortality and disability are high, seizures are frequently associated with serious underlying brain injury and therefore subsequent impairments. When attempting to define the prognosis for a baby with neonatal seizures, we propose a pathway involving history, examination, and careful consideration of all available results (ideally including brain magnetic resonance imaging) and the response to treatment before synthesizing the best estimate of risk to be conveyed to the family.
Keywords: Infant; Neonatal seizures; Outcome; Preterm; Term.
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