Neonatal Encephalopathy: It Causes Newborns To Develop Episodes Of Convulsions Or Epileptic Seizures

Nirmala Devi (name changed) and her husband, residents of Haveli, Pune, Maharashtra, were elated when she gave birth to their baby boy. It was a term baby weighing 3.4 kgs, but he had a delayed crying at birth and developed convulsions/seizures/fits starting at 28 hours of life along with lethargy. Doctors at Motherhood Hospitals, Lullanagar, revealed that the baby has a complex neurological disorder called “neonatal encephalopathy”, meningitis with hypoplasia of corpus callosum, and that he needed NICU care and support. Their happiness turned into a nightmare as they were told about multiple complications their baby was going through.

Dr Vrushali Bichkar, Consultant Paediatrician and Neonatologist, Motherhood Hospital, Lullanagar, Pune said, “Baby was lethargic and had episodes of convulsions or epileptic seizures on arrival to the hospital which required multiple anticonvulsants medication to control it. While the EEG test showed suggestive disturbed neurological function, also called neonatal encephalopathy. A team of doctors including a neurologist and geneticist were involved. Inborn error of metabolism was ruled out. CSF was performed which suggested partially treated meningitis (a bacterial or viral infection of the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord usually causes the swelling). In view of intermittent brief episodes of seizures, MRI was performed which suggested hypoplasia of corpus callosum which is a rare brain defect affecting 0.05 to 0.07 per cent of the population.”

The baby was discharged from the hospital after 3 weeks and continues to receive treatment for the condition.

Hypoplasia Of Corpus Callosum: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

In this condition of the corpus callosum, a bundle of nerves connecting the left and the right side of the brain is partially missing. Symptoms associated with this condition range from minor intelligence issues to developmental delays and seizures.

Causes for this condition include genetic inheritance, foetal alcohol syndrome or injury or infection during the second trimester of pregnancy.

Treatment for an absent corpus callosum depends on how the disorder affects an individual. It often includes genetic counselling, physiotherapy, and occupational therapy to minimize developmental delay, speech therapy or special education to address intellectual issues.

Neonatal Convulsions Can Be Fatal Be Treatment Is Delayed

Neonatal seizures or neonatal convulsions are epileptic fits occurring from birth to the end of the neonatal period. The neonatal period is the most vulnerable of all periods of life for developing seizures, particularly in the first 1 2 days to the first week from birth. It could be life threatening if not treated at the right time. Further follow ups are needed for such NICU graduates for monitoring of their growth and development.

While NICU care provides highly advanced technology and care to the babies with birth defects, there is an exorbitant cost associated with it. Having a meagre income, the baby’s father was afraid of how to cover the cost of his son’s NICU stay. Neonates’ foundation of India came to their rescue in this case. The Foundation supported the parents in raising funds for their new-born son.