How is the cause of neonatal seizures determined?

Updated: Jul 31, 2019
  • Author: Raj D Sheth, MD; Chief Editor: Stephen L Nelson, Jr, MD, PhD, FAACPDM, FAAN, FAAP  more...
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Tests to ascertain the cause of neonatal seizures include the following:

  • Serum glucose and electrolytes - Transient neonatal hypocalcemia is a cause of neonatal seizures during the first 3 weeks of life; hypocalcemia associated with chromosome 22q11 deletion syndrome may also be a consideration

  • TORCH (toxoplasmosis, rubella, CMV, herpes) infection studies

  • Urine organic acids

  • Serum amino acid assay

  • Renal function tests - These tests rule out posthypoxic renal dysfunction; hypoxic damage to multiple organ systems may also be suggested by elevated liver transaminase levels

  • Chromosomal microarray - Chromosomal abnormalities are often associated with neonatal encephalopathy including seizures

  • Epilepsy panel/genetic testing - Single gene mutations are frequently identified as causative of neonatal seizures, such as channels for electrolyte or glucuse transport, or genes involved in metabolism (metabolic epilepsies)

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