Variability in Preferred Management of Electrographic Seizures in Neonatal Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy

Melanie A. McNally, Adam L. Hartman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Seizures may cause added harm in neonates with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). Specific recommendations about seizure treatment in this context are lacking. We sought to determine the scope of practice regarding management of non-status epilepticus electrographic-only seizures in this setting. Methods: A case-based survey was distributed to members of the Child Neurology Society. Providers were asked about their preferred management strategy for sequential clinical scenarios. Results: A total of 177 child neurologists responded to the survey. Seventy-seven percent of providers would treat 20 seconds or less of electrographic seizure activity. In a neonate with mild HIE and an electrographic-only seizure, there was no agreement among providers regarding whether to start maintenance therapy in addition to a one-time anti-seizure drug load. In a neonate with moderate HIE on phenobarbital for early electro-clinical seizures, most providers would escalate treatment for ongoing electrographic-only seizures by increasing phenobarbital dosing. In a neonate with severe HIE complicated by status epilepticus on phenobarbital who subsequently develops recurrent electrographic-only seizures, providers varied substantially in their management preferences. For all three cases, 75% to 85% of providers would not change their management preferences based on the absence of a clinical correlate with the electrographic seizure. Conclusions: We found marked variability among providers regarding preferred management of non-status epilepticus electrographic-only seizures after HIE. Our results identified specific aspects of electrographic-only seizure management in neonatal HIE where there is limited consensus. These discrepancies may serve as opportunities for future investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPediatric Neurology
StateAccepted/In press - 2017


  • Levetiracetam
  • Neonatal seizures
  • Phenobarbital
  • Phenytoin
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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