Electrographic Seizures during the Early Postnatal Period in Preterm Infants

J Pediatr. 2017 Aug;187:18-25.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2017.03.004. Epub 2017 Mar 30.


Objective: To investigate the frequency and characteristics of electrographic seizures in preterm infants in the early postnatal period.

Study design: Infants <32 weeks gestational age (GA) (n = 120) were enrolled for continuous multichannel electroencephalography (EEG) recording initiated as soon as possible after birth and continued for approximately up to 72 hours of age. Electrographic seizures were identified visually, annotated, and analyzed. Quantitative descriptors of the temporal evolution of seizures, including total seizure burden, seizure duration, and maximum seizure burden, were calculated.

Results: Median GA was 28.9 weeks (IQR, 26.6-30.3 weeks) and median birth weight was 1125 g (IQR, 848-1440 g). Six infants (5%; 95% CI, 1.9-10.6%) had electrographic seizures. Median total seizure burden, seizure duration, and maximum seizure burden were 40.3 minutes (IQR, 5.0-117.5 minutes), 49.6 seconds (IQR, 43.4-76.6 seconds), and 10.8 minutes/hour (IQR, 1.6-20.2 minutes/hour), respectively. Seizure burden was highest in 2 infants with significant abnormalities on neuroimaging.

Conclusion: Electrographic seizures are infrequent within the first few days of birth in very preterm infants. Seizures in this population are difficult to detect accurately without continuous multichannel EEG monitoring.

Keywords: continuous multichannel EEG; neonate; premature; seizure activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Electroencephalography / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / methods
  • Seizures / diagnosis*