Delay in Treatment of Neonatal Seizures: A Retrospective Cohort Study

Wievineke M J Apers, Linda S de Vries, Floris Groenendaal, Mona C Toet, Lauren C Weeke

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Introduction: Neonatal seizures are common and caused by a variety of underlying disorders. There is increasing evidence that neonatal seizures result in further brain damage. Objective: To describe the time interval between diagnosis of amplitude-integrated electroencephalography (aEEG)-confirmed seizures and administration of anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs). Methods: Single-centre retrospective cohort study, with full-term infants (n = 106) admitted to a level III neonatal intensive care unit between 2012 and 2017 with seizures confirmed on 2-channel aEEG and corresponding raw electroencephalography traces, treated with AEDs. The time interval between the first seizure on the aEEG registration and AED administration was calculated. Factors associated with early treatment were analysed. Results: The median time interval of initiating treatment of aEEG-confirmed seizures was 01:50 h (interquartile range 00:43-4:30 h). Treatment of aEEG-confirmed seizures was initiated <1 h in 34/106 infants (32.1%), between 1 and 2 h in 21/106 infants (19.8%), 2-4 h in 23/106 infants (21.7%), 4-8 h in 14/106 infants (13.2%), and ≥8 h in 14/106 infants (13.2%). Seizures treated <1 h were significantly more often recognized by the seizure detection algorithm (SDA) compared to seizures treated >1 h (67 vs. 42%, p = 0.02) and showed more clinical signs (79.4 vs. 37.5%, p < 0.01). There was no difference for out-of-office hours (23.5 vs. 22.2%, p = 0.88). Conclusion: With only 32.1% of the seizures being treated <1 h, there is room for improvement. Timely treatment occurred more often when seizures were clinical or recognised by the SDA. aEEG is a helpful tool for diagnosing seizures 24/7.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-605
Number of pages7
Issue number5
Early online date19 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


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