Introduction: Acute neonatal seizures are the most frequent neurological complication in the neonatal intensive care units and the seizing newborns have an increased risk of long-term morbidity. However, the relationship between neonatal seizures and the development of epilepsy later in life is still unclear.
Methods: We performed a literature review using the search terms "neonatal seizures AND outcome", "neonatal seizures AND epilepsy", "neonatal seizures AND post-neonatal epilepsy", including secondary sources of data such as reference lists of articles reviewed. From the studies in which data were available, the incidence of epilepsy was calculated by dividing the number of all subjects who developed epilepsy in the different studies considered with the number of all newborns enrolled to the studies less the number of patients lost at follow-up.
Results: We found 44 studies published between 1954 and 2013, of which 4 were population-based studies and the remaining were hospital-based case series. The overall population evaluated was 4538 newborns and 17.9% developed post-neonatal epilepsy, with an onset within the first year of life in 68.5% of the patients. In 80.7%, epilepsy was associated with other neurological impairments.
Conclusion: Estimates on epilepsy after neonatal seizures vary widely depending on selection criteria and length of the follow-up. However, it represents a common outcome of these newborns, especially in those with severe brain injury and additional neuro-developmental disabilities. (C) 2014 European Paediatric Neurology Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.