Our son was only hours old when he experienced his first seizure. He was born face up, instead of the more common face down presentation resulting in a prolonged labor. Because his head was badly misshapen at birth due to the hours he was within the birth canal, the Doctors placed him in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for observation. Within hours he had his first seizure.

Seizures in Infants

A seizure is caused by uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain. Seizures can be separated into two categories, subtle or motor. A subtle seizure is frequently overlooked because the physical manifestations are similar to normal behaviors such as eyelid blinking and fluttering, sucking, and bicycling or pedaling of the limbs. Motor seizures are more obvious and are evident in rhythmic jerking or sustained contraction of the limbs. Seizures occur in about 20% of premature births and in about 1 1/2 % of term births. Although there are many causes of seizures in newborns, often the cause is unknown.

Causes of Seizures in Infants

About 80% of all seizures within the first 2 days of life can be traced to decreased blood flow to the brain, or decreased oxygen to the brain, during the birth process. Other common causes of seizures are intracranial hemorrhage, stroke, infection, drug withdrawal, and malformation of the brain. Increasingly rare due to advances in pediatric medicine are seizures that are metabolic in nature, such as electrolyte and glucose abnormalities. For most infants, seizures that occur in the first days of life may never occur again. For others, premature infants especially, seizure activity may recur more frequently.

How are Seizures Diagnosed

Evaluation of an infant with seizures begins with a detailed familial history and physical examination. Further diagnosis occurs through electroencephalogram (EEG) and laboratory testing to evaluate metabolic causes.


Treatment of seizures in infants focuses on treatment of the underlying disorder primarily and the seizure itself only secondarily. If the cause of the seizure can be determined, eliminating that cause will control the seizure activity. Where the causative agent is unknown, anticonvulsants are used to control seizure activity.

Other Disorders

Premature infants may experience other medical conditions related to prematurity, such as Respiratory Distress Syndrome or Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia that may result in chronic ongoing breathing problems and the need for medical equipment or respiratory support after discharge. In Northern Kentucky the source for durable medical equipment and respiratory therapy is RSVP Homecare. If your infant has complex medical needs that require ongoing care, we are here to give you the support you need. We carry a full line of medical equipment from monitors and ventilators, to tubing and medical supplies that you may need on a daily basis. Our dedicated staff has over a century of experience in service to the medically fragile. RSVP Homecare provides support in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.