Why do neonates receive antiseizure medications?

Abhijeet Rakshasbhuvankar, Shripada Rao, Soumya Ghosh, Elizabeth A. Nathan, Lakshmi Nagarajan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Continuous conventional video-electroencephalography (cVEEG), the gold standard, is not routinely available for monitoring neonatal seizures in Australia. Therefore, seizures are monitored with clinical observation and amplitude-integrated electroencephalography (aEEG), which may result in under- or over-treatment with antiseizure medications (ASMs). We aimed to investigate ASM usage and its relation to the “cVEEG-confirmed seizures” (cVEEG seizures) in the at-risk infants admitted to a tertiary referral neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Methods: The study was a part of a diagnostic study comparing cVEEG with aEEG for the detection of neonatal seizures. Thirty-six infants ≥35 weeks gestational age and at risk of seizures and admitted to NICU were recruited after informed parental consent. The infants were monitored and treated with ASMs based on clinical observation and aEEG findings. A simultaneous cVEEG, not available for clinical decision making, was recorded for 24-h and interpreted at a later date. Data regarding ASM usage and seizure burden on cVEEG were collected. Spearman’s Rho coefficient was used to assess the correlation between the number of doses of ASMs administered and seizure burden on cVEEG. Results: cVEEG recordings of 35 infants were available for analysis. The gestational age of the infants ranged from 36 to 42 weeks, and the most common diagnosis was hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. Twelve infants received ASMs during the 24-h study period, of which five (42%) did not have cVEEG seizures. Maximum cVEEG seizure burden was 8.3 h, and maximum number of ASMs used was three. The correlation between the number of doses of ASMs administered in an infant and the seizure burden on cVEEG was low (Spearman’s Rho: 0.44; p =.148). Conclusion: Treatment of neonatal seizures based on clinical observation and aEEG, without cVEEG, results in unnecessary or inadequate exposure to ASMs for many infants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3433-3437
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine
Issue number18
Early online date14 Sep 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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