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Cerebral blood flow velocity during neonatal seizures
  1. G B Boylana,
  2. R B Paneraid,
  3. J M Renniea,
  4. D H Evansd,
  5. S Rabe-Heskethc,
  6. C D Binnieb
  1. aDepartment of Child Health Kings College Hospital London, bDepartment of Clinical Neurophysiology, cDepartment of Biostatistics and Computing Institute of Psychiatry London, dDepartment of Medical Physics University of Leicester
  1. Dr Janet Rennie Neonatal Intensive Care Unit 4th Floor Ruskin Wing Kings College Hospital Denmark Hill London SE5 9RS. Email: janet.rennie{at}


AIM To determine if cerebral blood flow velocity increases during all types of neonatal seizure, and whether the effect is due solely to an increase in blood pressure, transmitted to the cerebral circulation when autoregulation is impaired.

METHODS Seizures were diagnosed in 11 high risk neonates using cotside 16 channel video–EEG polygraphy. EEG, cerebral blood flow velocity (CBFV) using transcranial Doppler ultrasound, and arterial blood pressure (ABP) measurements were made. At least two 5–10 minute epochs of simultaneous measurements were performed on each infant. These epochs were then reviewed to eliminate artefacts, and one minute data periods containing a clear seizure onset were created. Each period contained 20 seconds before the seizure. Data periods without seizures from the same infants were also analysed and compared with seizure periods.

RESULTS Four infants had purely electrographic seizures—without clinical manifestations. Six infants had electroclinical seizures. One infant displayed both seizure types. A random effects linear regression analysis was used to determine the effect of seizures on CBFV and ABP. A significant increase was found in mean CBFV in those periods containing seizures. The mean percentage change in velocity for all infants was 15.6%. Three infants showed a significant increase in mean ABP after seizures but the overall increase in ABP for all infants was not significant.

CONCLUSION Electroclinical and electrographic neonatal seizures produce an increase in CBFV. In some infants the increase is not associated with an increase in blood pressure. These preliminary results suggest that electrographic seizures are associated with disturbed cerebral metabolism. Treatment of neonatal seizures until electrographic seizure activity is abolished may improve outcome for these infants.

  • seizures
  • EEG
  • cerebral blood flow velocity
  • transcranial Doppler

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