Babies in the neonatal ICU (NICU) or nursery who have their anti-seizure medication continued when at home do not have better functional brain development or a reduced epilepsy risk at two years of age versus babies who have their anti-seizure medication discontinued before going home, according to a study published in May in JAMA Neurology.
In their research, Hannah C. Glass, M.D.C.M, and colleagues used data from Neonatal Seizure Registries to assess the association between functional neurodevelopment or risk for epilepsy in babies who had sudden onset, symptomatic seizures treated with medication, but whose seizure symptoms resolved and they were taken off the anti-seizure medication before hospital discharge.
This research study included 303 neonates who were born from July of 2015 – March of 2018, and who experienced sudden-onset symptomatic seizures. When looking the Warner Initial Development Evaluation of Adaptive and Functional Skills score of 270 toddlers at 2 years of age, researchers found that the score was similar for babies who had their anti-seizure discontinued before going home from the hospital versus babies who remained on their medication once at home. Furthermore, the risk of epilepsy was the same between both groups of babies.
“We really need to balance the risks of continued medication with benefits to babies’ health,” one of the researchers said in a statement. “If it’s not necessary, then keeping them on medicine could do more harm than good.”
SEIZURES IN A NEWBORN
There are many conditions that can cause seizures in a baby. Seizures are abnormal electrical discharges in the baby’s brain. Treating the underlying cause of the seizures can often stop the seizure activity. It is very important to stop seizures, as every time a seizure occurs, the baby’s brain can be injured.
Seizures in a newborn are typically a sign that the baby’s brain sustained an injury. Sometimes, a baby’s brain may be injured during or near the time of delivery due to reduced oxygen to the brain. These babies are often diagnosed with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) shortly after birth. HIE is the most common cause of neonatal seizures. Seizures resulting from HIE usually occur within the first 24 – 48 hours of life. When a baby has HIE, admittance to the NICU is usually necessary. Major goals in the NICU include keeping the baby’s temperature, blood pressure, glucose and heart rate stable, and keeping the baby adequately oxygenated and ventilated.
A baby with HIE is often given brain cooling (hypothermia) treatment. Hypothermia is currently the only effective neuroprotective therapy currently available for treatment of HIE. With this type of treatment, the baby’s brain is cooled down to a few degrees below normal. The treatment should begin within six hours after birth (or after injury) and may last up to 72 hours.
GREWAL LAW’S AWARD-WINNING BIRTH INJURY ATTORNEYS ARE HERE TO HELP
If your baby was diagnosed with HIE and / or experienced seizures after birth, or if you think your baby experienced a traumatic birth, oxygen deprivation, a brain bleed, delayed delivery, or delayed emergency C-section, please contact our team of award-winning birth injury attorneys. The medical malpractice team at Grewal Law is comprised of attorneys and healthcare professionals, including an on-site physician, registered nurse, occupational therapist, pharmacist, paramedic, and respiratory therapist. We also work with the best experts from around the country.
If your baby was diagnosed with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), seizures, cerebral palsy, motor disorders, periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), hydrocephalus, intellectual disabilities, or developmental delays, or if you experienced problems during delivery or shortly before or after birth, please call us. Our birth injury attorneys and medical staff are available to speak with you 24/7.
A Michigan native who graduated from both Michigan State University and Cooley Law School, Mr. Weidenfeller has limited his practice of law to representing individuals who have been permanently injured and families who have lost a loved one as the result of medical errors for more than 20 years. In that time, he has been featured on the cover of Michigan Lawyer’s Weekly and has spoken to many and varied professional groups about trial practice and effective communication.