Serial ultrasound scans and conventional and diffusion weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were performed on 16 neonates who presented with seizures. The Apgar scores were normal and subsequently no metabolic or infective cause could be found. The aim of the study was to evaluate the extent to which early sequential imaging can elucidate the cause of seizures in apparently neurologically normal infants. Fourteen of the infants had haemorrhagic or ischaemic lesions on MRI and these were detected by ultrasound scanning in 11. Early ultrasound scanning detected the haemorrhagic lesions but the ischaemic lesions were often not seen until the end of the first week of life. Early MRI, however, was able to detect all the ischaemic lesions. The evolution of the insult could be timed by using serial ultrasound scans and a combination of diffusion weighted and conventional MRI during the first week of life, confirming a perinatal insult even in the absence of fetal distress. Although the aetiology of these lesions remains obscure, serial ultrasound scans will detect the presence of cerebral lesions in neonates presenting with isolated seizures but additional MRI sequences will give better definition on type, site, and extent of the pathology.
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