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Brent R. O’Neill, Michael H. Handler, Suhong Tong and Kevin E. Chapman

OBJECT

Seizures may cause diagnostic confusion and be a source of metabolic stress after traumatic brain injury (TBI) in children. The incidence of electroencephalography (EEG)-confirmed seizures and of subclinical seizures in the pediatric population with TBI is not well known.

METHODS

A routine protocol for continuous EEG (cEEG) monitoring was initiated for all patients with moderate or severe TBI at a Level 1 pediatric trauma center. Over a 3.5-year period, all patients with TBI who underwent cEEG monitoring, both according to protocol and those with mild head injuries who underwent cEEG monitoring at the discretion of the treating team, were identified prospectively. Clinical data were collected and analyzed.

RESULTS

Over the study period, 594 children were admitted with TBI, and 144 of these children underwent cEEG monitoring. One hundred two (71%) of these 144 children had moderate or severe TBI. Abusive head trauma (AHT) was the most common mechanism of injury (65 patients, 45%) in children with cEEG monitoring. Seizures were identified on cEEG in 43 patients (30%). Forty (93%) of these 43 patients had subclinical seizures, including 17 (40%) with only subclinical seizures and 23 (53%) with both clinical and subclinical seizures. Fifty-three percent of patients with seizures experienced status epilepticus. Age less than 2.4 years and AHT mechanism were strongly correlated with presence of seizures (odds ratios 8.7 and 6.0, respectively). Those patients with only subclinical seizures had the same risk factors as the other groups. The presence of seizures did not correlate with discharge disposition but was correlated with longer hospital stay and intensive care unit stay.

CONCLUSIONS

Continuous EEG monitoring identifies a significant number of subclinical seizures acutely after TBI. Children younger than 2.4 years of age and victims of AHT are particularly vulnerable to subclinical seizures, and seizures in general. Continuous EEG monitoring allows for accurate diagnosis and timely treatment of posttraumatic seizures, and may mitigate secondary injury to the traumatized brain.

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Cornelia Drees, Kevin Chapman, Erin Prenger, Leslie Baxter, Rama Maganti, Harold Rekate, Andrew Shetter, Maggie Bobrowitz and John F. Kerrigan

Object

This study aimed at identifying outcomes with respect to seizures, morbidity, and mortality in adult patients undergoing resective or Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) to treat intractable epilepsy associated with hypothalamic hamartoma (HH).

Methods

Adult patients undergoing surgical treatment for HH-related epilepsy were prospectively monitored at a single center for complications and seizure outcome by using a proprietary database. Preintervention and postintervention data for patients 18 years of age and older, and with at least 1 year of follow-up, were analyzed, with specific attention to seizure control, complications, hormonal status, and death.

Results

Forty adult patients were found in the database (21 were women). The median HH volume was 0.54 cm3. In 70% of patients, it was located inside the third ventricle, attached unilaterally and vertically to the hypothalamus (Delalande Type II). Most patients (26) underwent an endoscopic resection, 10 patients had a transcallosal or other type of open (pterional or orbitozygomatic) resection, and 4 patients chose GKS.

Twenty-nine percent became seizure free in the long term, and overall a majority of patients (55%) reported at least > 90% seizure improvement. Only 3 patients were ultimately able to discontinue anticonvulsants, whereas most patients were taking an average of 2 antiepileptic drugs pre- and postoperatively. The only factor significantly correlated with seizure-free outcome was the absence of mental retardation. The HH volume, HH type, and amount of resection or disconnection were not correlated to seizure freedom. A total of 4 patients (10%) died, 2 immediately after surgery and 2 later. All of them had undergone a resection, as opposed to GKS, and still had seizures. Postoperatively, persistent neurological deficits were seen in 1 patient; 34% of patients had mild hormonal problems; and 59% experienced weight gain of at least 6.8 kg (average gain 12.7 kg).

Conclusions

Surgical or GKS procedures in adults with HH provided seizure freedom in one-third of patients. The only significant favorable prognostic factor was the absence of mental retardation. The overall mortality rate was high, at 10%. Other important morbidities were persistent hormonal disturbances and weight gain.