Variation in Anticonvulsant Selection and Electroencephalographic Monitoring Following Severe Traumatic Brain Injury in Children-Understanding Resource Availability in Sites Participating in a Comparative Effectiveness Study. (Williams)

Kurz JE, et al. Variation in Anticonvulsant Selection and Electroencephalographic Monitoring Following Severe Traumatic Brain Injury in Children-Understanding Resource Availability in Sites Participating in a Comparative Effectiveness Study. Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2016 Jul; 17(7):649-657.

OBJECTIVES: Early posttraumatic seizures may contribute to worsened outcomes after traumatic brain injury. Evidence to guide the evaluation and management of early posttraumatic seizures in children is limited. We undertook a survey of current practices of continuous electroencephalographic monitoring, seizure prophylaxis, and the management of early posttraumatic seizures to provide essential information for trial design and the development of posttraumatic seizure management pathways.

DESIGN: Surveys were sent to site principal investigators at all 43 sites participating in the Approaches and Decisions in Acute Pediatric TBI trial at the time of the survey. Surveys consisted of 12 questions addressing strategies to 1) implement continuous electroencephalographic monitoring, 2) posttraumatic seizure prophylaxis, 3) treat acute posttraumatic seizures, 4) treat status epilepticus and refractory status epilepticus, and 5) monitor antiseizure drug levels.

SETTING: Institutions comprised a mixture of free-standing children’s hospitals and university medical centers across the United States and Europe.

SUBJECTS: Site principal investigators of the Approaches and Decisions in Acute Pediatric TBI trial.

INTERVENTIONS: None.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Continuous electroencephalographic monitoring was available in the PICU in the overwhelming majority of clinical sites (98%); however, the plans to operationalize such monitoring for children varied considerably. A similar majority of sites report that administration of prophylactic antiseizure medications is anticipated in children (93%); yet, a minority reports that a specified protocol for treatment of posttraumatic seizures is in place (43%). Reported medication choices varied substantially between sites, but the majority of sites reported pentobarbital for refractory status epilepticus (81%). The presence of treatment protocols for seizure prophylaxis, early posttraumatic seizures, posttraumatic status epilepticus, and refractory status epilepticus was associated with decreased reported medications (all p < 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: This study reports the current management practices for early posttraumatic seizures in select academic centers after pediatric severe traumatic brain injury. The substantial variation in continuous electroencephalographic monitoring implementation, choice of seizure prophylaxis medications, and management of early posttraumatic seizures across institutions was reported, signifying the areas of clinical uncertainty that will help provide focused design of clinical trials. Although sites with treatment protocols reported a decreased number of medications for the scenarios described, completion of the Approaches and Decisions in Acute Pediatric TBI trial will be able to determine if these protocols lead to decreased variability in medication administration in children at the clinical sites.

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Prevalence of Early Posttraumatic Seizures in Children With Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury Despite Levetiracetam Prophylaxis. (Coleman)

Chung MG, O’Brien NF. Prevalence of Early Posttraumatic Seizures in Children With Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury Despite Levetiracetam Prophylaxis. Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2015 Dec 11. [Epub ahead of print]

OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the prevalence of early seizures after levetiracetam prophylaxis in children with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury.

DESIGN: Prospective observational study.

SETTING: Level 1 pediatric trauma center.

PATIENTS: We enrolled 34 patients between the ages of 0-18 years with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury admitted to the PICU at a level 1 trauma center who received levetiracetam for early posttraumatic seizure prophylaxis.

MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Primary outcome was the prevalence of early posttraumatic seizures that were defined as clinical seizures within 7 days of injury. In 6 of 34 patients (17%), clinical seizures developed despite levetiracetam prophylaxis. An additional two patients had nonconvulsive seizures. This prevalence is similar to that reported in the literature in this patient population who do not receive seizure prophylaxis (20-53%) and is higher than that in patients who receive phenytoin prophylaxis (2-15%). Patients with early posttraumatic seizures were younger (median age, 4 mo) (p < 0.001) and more likely to have suffered from abusive head trauma (p < 0.0004).

CONCLUSIONS: Early clinical posttraumatic seizures occurred frequently in children with moderate to severe traumatic brain injury despite seizure prophylaxis with levetiracetam. Younger children and those with abusive head trauma were at increased risk of seizures. Further studies are needed to evaluate the efficacy of levetiracetam before it is routinely used for seizure prophylaxis in these children, particularly in young children and those who have suffered from abusive head trauma.

Prevalence of and risk factors for intracranial abnormalities in unprovoked seizures. (Emrath)

Dayan PS, Lillis K, Bennett J, et al. Prevalence of and risk factors for intracranial abnormalities in unprovoked seizures. Pediatrics. 2015 Aug;136(2):e351-60.

Full-text for Children’s and Emory users.

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Prospective data are lacking to determine which children might benefit from prompt neuroimaging after unprovoked seizures. We aimed to determine the prevalence of, and risk factors for, relevant intracranial abnormalities in children with first, unprovoked seizures.

METHODS: We conducted a 6-center prospective study in children aged >28 days to 18 years with seemingly unprovoked seizures. Emergency department (ED) clinicians documented clinical findings on a standardized form. Our main outcome was the presence of a clinically relevant intracranial abnormality on computed tomography (CT) or MRI, defined as those that might change management, either emergently, urgently, or nonurgently.

RESULTS: We enrolled 475 of 625 (76%) eligible patients. Of 354 patients for whom cranial MRI or CT scans were obtained in the ED or within 4 months of the ED visit, 40 (11.3%; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 8.0-14.6%) had clinically relevant intracranial abnormalities, with 3 (0.8%; 95% CI: 0.1-1.8%) having emergent/urgent abnormalities. On logistic regression analysis, a high-risk past medical history (adjusted odds ratio: 9.2; 95% CI: 2.4-35.7) and any focal aspect to the seizure (odds ratio: 2.5; 95% CI: 1.2-5.3) were independently associated with clinically relevant abnormalities.

CONCLUSIONS: Clinically relevant intracranial abnormalities occur in 11% of children with first, unprovoked seizures. Emergent/urgent abnormalities, however, occur in <1%, suggesting that most children do not require neuroimaging in the ED. Findings on patient history and physical examination identify patients at higher risk of relevant abnormalities.

More harm than good: Antiseizure prophylaxis after traumatic brain injury does not decrease seizure rates but may inhibit functional recovery. (Petrillo)

Bhullar IS, Johnson D, Paul JP, Kerwin AJ, Tepas JJ 3rd, Frykberg ER. More harm than good: Antiseizure prophylaxis after traumatic brain injury does not decrease seizure rates but may inhibit functional recovery. J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2014 Jan;76(1):54-61.

BACKGROUND: The purposes of this study were to examine the current Brain Trauma Foundation recommendation for antiseizure prophylaxis with phenytoin during the first 7 days after traumatic brain injury (TBI) in preventing seizures and to determine if this medication affects functional recovery at discharge.

METHODS: The records of adult (age ≥ 18 years) patients with blunt severe TBI who remained in the hospital at least 7 days after injury were retrospectively reviewed from January 2008 to January 2010. Clinical seizure rates during the first 7 days after injury and functional outcome at discharge were compared for the two groups based on antiseizure prophylaxis, no prophylaxis (NP) versus phenytoin prophylaxis (PP). Statistical analysis was performed using χ.

RESULTS: A total of 93 adult patients who met the previously mentioned criteria were identified (43 [46%] NP group vs. 50 [54%] PP group). The two groups were well matched. Contrary to expectation, more seizures occurred in the PP group as compared with the NP group; however, this did not reach significance (PP vs. NP, 2 [4%] vs. 1 [2.3%], p = 1). There was no significant difference in the two groups (PP vs. NP) as far as disposition are concerned, mortality caused by head injury (4 [8%] vs. 3 [7%], p = 1), discharge home (16 [32%] vs. 17 [40%], p = 0.7), and discharge to rehabilitation (30 [60%] vs. 23 [53%], p = 0.9). However, with PP, there was a significantly longer hospital stay (PP vs. NP, 36 vs. 25 days, p = 0.04) and significantly worse functional outcome at discharge based on Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) score (PP vs. NP, 2.9 vs. 3.4, p < 0.01) and modified Rankin Scale score (2.3 ± 1.7 vs. 3.1 ± 1.5, p = 0.02).

CONCLUSION: PP may not decrease early posttraumatic seizure and may suppress functional outcome after blunt TBI. These results need to be verified with randomized studies before recommending changes in clinical practice and do not apply to penetrating trauma.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: Therapeutic study, level IV; epidemiologic study, level III.

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