Epilepsy in very preterm infants: neonatal cranial ultrasound reveals a high-risk subcategory

Dev Med Child Neurol. 1998 Nov;40(11):724-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.1998.tb12339.x.


The aim of this study was to investigate the association between epilepsy and perinatal brain injury in a cohort of 610 infants born preterm at <33 weeks' gestation. The prevalence of epilepsy in this cohort was 4.3% as determined by a postal questionnaire survey. Most children with epilepsy (16 of 24) had high-risk cranial ultrasound lesions including haemorrhagic parenchymal infarction (HPI), posthaemorrhagic hydrocephalus, and cystic periventricular leukomalacia (PVL). Of all the children in our cohort with high-risk brain lesions, those with epilepsy were more likely to have HPI and significantly less likely to have cystic PVL, although it is possible that PVL was not noticed in some cases. Children with epilepsy and high-risk cranial ultrasound lesions also showed more cognitive impairment than children with high-risk lesions but no epilepsy, which suggested more cortical grey-matter damage. We suggest that brain injury has occurred outside the confines of the periventricular white matter in this group of preterm infants with epilepsy.

MeSH terms

  • Brain / growth & development
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Cerebral Infarction / complications
  • Cerebral Infarction / diagnostic imaging*
  • Child
  • Cognition
  • Cohort Studies
  • Developmental Disabilities / physiopathology
  • Echoencephalography*
  • Epilepsy / epidemiology
  • Epilepsy / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors