John Libbey Eurotext

Beyond neonatal seizures - epileptic evolution in preterm newborns: a systematic review and meta-analysis Volume 24, issue 1, February 2022


  • Figure 1
  • Figure 2
  • Figure 3


1 Unit of Pediatrics, Neonatology and Neonatal Intensive Care, and Pediatric Emergency, AOU “Policlinico”, PO “San Marco”, University of Catania, Catania, Italy
2 Pietro Barilla Children's Hospital - Clinic of Paediatrics, 14 Via Gramsci, Parma, Parma 43126, Italy
3 Unit of Rare Diseases of the Nervous System in Childhood, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Section of Pediatrics and Child Neuropsychiatry, University of Catania, Catania, Italy
4 Child Neuropsychiatric Unit, University Hospital of Parma, Italy - Medicine & Surgery Department, Via Gramsci, 14, Parma, 43126, Italy
* Correspondence: Milena Motta University of Catania Ringgold standard institution - A.O.U., “G. Rodolico- San Marco”, Viale Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, 95121 Catania CT, Catania 95124, Italy

Objective. To assess the potential risk of developing epilepsy in preterm newborns with neonatal seizures (NS). Two electronic databases (PubMed and Web of Sciences) were searched from inception to December 2020. Studies that investigated the outcome of epilepsy in neonates with NS were included.

Methods. Case-control, cross-sectional and cohort studies were included. Data synthesis was undertaken via systematic review and meta-analysis of available evidence. All review stages were conducted by three independent reviewers. We analysed data on neonates with NS who developed post-neonatal epilepsy (PNE) based on the data reported in the selected articles. We then investigated the development of PNE in term and preterm neonates.

Results. The initial search led to 568 citations, of which 12 were selected for the review and six were eligible for meta-analysis. Results of the meta-analysis showed no significant difference in the risk of developing PNE between full-term infants with NS (pooled OR [pOR]=0.92: 95% CI: 0.58-1.44) and preterm neonates.

Significance. Gestational age does not seem to be an independent predictor for the development of PNE in neonates with NS. More data are needed to explore the relationship between seizures in the neonatal period and epilepsy later in life.