aetiology of neonatal seizures

Last reviewed 01/2018

Possible causes of convulsions in a neonate include:

  • birth asphyxia or hypoxia - about half of all neonatal seizures
  • birth injury with haemorrhage
  • CNS infections eg such as meningitis, encephalitis - accounting for about 10% of cases. In addition to this, congenital infections are also important.
  • CNS malformations
  • hypoglycaemia - about 10% of cases
  • hypocalcaemia - about 10% of cases
  • hyponatraemia or hypernatraemia
  • hyperbilirubinaemia
  • hypomagnesaemia
  • inherited metabolic disorders - inborn errors of metabolism. One particular error to pay attention to, if only because the treatment is easy although the condition is rare, is pyridoxine deficiency.
  • narcotic withdrawal if the mother is an addict
  • benign familial neonatal convulsions - fifth day fits