Global Journal of Medical Sciences

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Neonatal seizures in Calabar: A revisit

JJ Udo, ME Eyong, MU Anah, IS Etuk, CI Uzomba, AA Asindi


Newborns admitted with convulsion in the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar during the period 1st May 2004 to 30 April 2006 were studied prospectively. The aim was to determine the place of birth in relation to the cause of seizures, the current situation in terms of the aetiology, clinical spectrum and outcome. There were 55 neonates with convulsion representing 5% of admissions into the newborn unit during the period. Birth asphyxia, sepsis, and hypoglycaemia were important identifiable aetiological factors which operated either singly (45.5%) of cases) or in concert (54.5% of cases) in causing seizures. Hypocalcaemia and hyponatraemia contributed less. These results are similar to that of a previous study carried out in this centre ten years earlier . There was no statistical significant difference between home and hospital deliveries in relation to causes of seizures. Septicaemia was caused mainly by staphylococcus aureus, enterobactericae and unclassified coliforms. No neonatal meningitis was diagnosed. Surprisingly, there was a high prevalence of generalized seizures (76.4%). The mortality of 34.0% was related to onset of the seizures within 4 days of life but not the place of birth.
The causes of neonatal seizures in our environment are mostly preventable. There is need to provide modern facilities for investigating newborn seizures, training and retraining of Traditional Birth Attendants, health education of expectant mothers.
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