BACKGROUND:Seizures are one of the most common symptoms of acute neurological disorders in newborns. This study aims at evaluating predictors of epilepsy in newborns with neonatal seizures. METHODS:we recruited consecutively eighty-five neonates with repeated neonatal video-EEG-confirmed seizures between Jan 1999 and Dec 2004. The relationship between clinical, EEG and ultrasound data in neonatal period and the development of post-neonatal epilepsy was investigated at 7 years of age. RESULTS:Fifteen patients (17.6%) developed post-neonatal epilepsy. Partial or no response to anticonvulsant therapy (OR 16.7, 95% CI: 1.8-155.8, p= .01; OR 47, 95% CI: 5.2-418.1, p< .01 respectively), severely abnormal cerebral ultrasound scan findings (OR: 5.4; 95% CI: 1.1-27.4; p< .04), severely abnormal EEG background activity (OR: 9.5; 95% CI: 1.6-54.2; p= .01) and the presence of status epilepticus (OR: 6.1; 95% CI: 1.8-20.3; p< .01) were found to be predictors of epilepsy. However, only the response to therapy seemed to be an independent predictor of post-neonatal epilepsy. CONCLUSION:Neonatal seizures seem to be related to post-neonatal epilepsy. Recurrent and prolonged neonatal seizures may act on an epileptogenic substrate, causing further damage, which is responsible for the subsequent clinical expression of epilepsy.
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