Electrographic Seizures in Preterm Neonates in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

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Characterize clinical and electroencephalography (EEG) characteristics of preterm neonates undergoing continuous EEG in the neonatal intensive care unit.


Retrospective study of preterm neonates born less than 37 weeks’ gestational age undergoing continuous EEG in the neonatal intensive care unit at Boston Children’s Hospital over a 2-year period.


Fifty-two preterms (46% male) had a mean gestational age of 32.8 weeks (standard deviation = 4.17). Seizures were detected in 12/52 (23%), with EEG seizures detected in 4/12 (33%). The median time from EEG to the first seizure was 0.5 hours (interquartile range 0.24-4). Factors associated with seizures were male gender (odds ratio = 4.65 [95% confidence interval = 1.02-21.24], P = .047) and lack of EEG state change (odds ratio = 0.043 [95% confidence interval = 0.005-0.377], P = .04).


Twenty-three percent of preterms undergoing continuous EEG had EEG seizures or electrographic seizures with no clear clinical correlate. This confirms recent American Clinical Neurophysiology Society guidelines suggesting that preterm neonates are at high risk for seizures.

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