Convulsions in newborns

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Convulsions in newborns

There are 4 to 12 cases of seizures per thousand babies. The nervous system of a newborn baby functions at the spinal and brainstem levels. In this case, cortical neurons are fully formed. However, cytoplasmic and membrane differentiation in nerve cells is not yet expressed. In addition, the process of dendrite formation has not been completed, and there is also no normal relationship between neurons and glial elements. Convulsions in newborns, their quantity and quality are determined by the characteristics of the infant’s brain, its functional and morphological organization. 

In older people, seizures are distinguished by the manifestation of forms of tonic and clonic phases, which successively replace each other. Convulsions in infants are local in nature. The first manifestations may be twitching of the eyes and muscles of facial expressions, as well as arms and legs. These symptoms can follow in an irregular order on one side of the body and involve the opposite side.

Thus, seizures are of a migratory nature, which can be mistaken for a generalized convulsive seizure. This type of seizure is generalized, fragmented. This is followed by loss of consciousness, cyanosis is possible. Sometimes it is difficult to catch the onset of the onset of seizures in an infant, since the first signs can be mistaken for simple movements of the facial muscles on the newborn’s face.

The second most common type of seizure in an infant is focal clonic seizures, which involve only one half of the body. Symptoms of this type of seizure can be the appearance of grimaces on the face of the newborn, as well as the manifestation of smacking, chewing and sucking. In addition, adverse turns of the eyeballs, head, etc. are important signs of a seizure .

Dangerous symptoms of an attack:

  • pallor,
  • cyanosis,
  • redness of the face,
  • salivation.

It is important not to miss the moment the seizures start and not to mistake the seizure for spontaneous movements of the baby. EEG monitoring and the method of dynamic observation of newborns help in the diagnosis of these cases.  

There are also myoclonic seizures, which are characterized by twitching of the child’s arms or legs, with a tendency to bend them. It is important to prevent this type of seizure from becoming a massive infantile myoclonic spasm. In addition, in such cases, babies flinch and scream. It is also worth paying attention to the tremor of the limbs and discoloration of the skin of the newborn.

Babies who were born prematurely, and also have a low body weight, may suffer from seizures, which are characterized by an abortive nature. In this case, twitching of the eyes, constant blinking, trembling of the eyelids, an increased level of salivation, tonic tension of the arms and legs are possible. Convulsive paroxysms and their nature depends on the underlying pathological process.

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