INTRODUCTION: Neonatal seizures are frequent but underdiagnosed manifestations of acute brain dysfunction and an important contributor to unfavorable outcomes. Etiology and severity of brain injury are the single strongest outcome determinants.
AREAS COVERED: The authors will discuss the prognostic role of acute symptomatic seizures versus brain injury and the main neuroprotective and neurorestorative strategies for full-term and preterm infants.
EXPERT OPINION: Prolonged acute symptomatic seizures likely contribute to long-term outcomes by independently adding further brain injury to initial insults. Correct timing and dosing of therapeutic interventions, depending on etiology and gestational ages, need careful evaluation. Although promising strategies are under study, the only standard of care is whole-body therapeutic hypothermia in full-term newborns with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.