BACKGROUND:

The impact of treating electrographic seizures in hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) is unknown.

METHODS:

Neonates ≥36 weeks with moderate or severe HIE were randomly assigned to either treatment of electrographic seizures alone (ESG) or treatment of clinical seizures (CSG). Conventional EEG video was monitored in both groups for up to 96 hours. Cumulative electrographic seizure burden (SB) was calculated in seconds and converted to log units for analysis. MRI scans were scored for severity of brain injury. Infants underwent neurodevelopmental evaluation at 18 to 24 months. Statistical analyses were performed by using SAS 9.3 version (SAS Institute, Inc, Cary, NC).

RESULTS:

Thirty-five of 69 neonates (51%) who were randomly assigned and included in the study developed seizures (15 in ESG and 20 in CSG). Excluding infants with status epilepticus, median SB (interquartile range) in seconds in ESG (n = 10) was lower than in CSG (n = 16) (449 [113–2070] vs 2226 [760–7654]; P = .02). ESG had fewer seizures with shorter time to treatment (P = .04). Twenty-four of 30 (80%) surviving infants with seizures underwent neurodevelopmental evaluation at 18 to 24 months. Increasing SB in the combined cohort was significantly associated with higher brain injury scores (P < .03) and lower performance scores across all 3 domains on BSID III (P = .03).

CONCLUSIONS:

In neonates with HIE, EEG monitoring and treatment of electrographic seizures results in significant reduction in SB. SB is associated with more severe brain injury and significantly lower performance scores across all domains on BSID III.

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