Why do fits occur in newborns?
Q: I recently delivered a male child last month. The delivery was after 287 days and it was normal with the baby weighing 3kg at birth. The child had fits immediately after birth and was kept under sedation for a long time. The X-ray showed that the baby drank some water from the mothers stomach. An antibiotic was also prescribed for a week. The reason for fits has not been ascertained as yet. The dosage of the sedation has been reduced gradually and now it is 6mg. We have been asked to continue it for the next two weeks. Fits were there for the first 6 days and have not recurred after that. Could you tell why this happens and what are the chances for reccurence? Do I need some more tests to determine the cause? Could this affect the child in future (reflexes and other behaviour)?
A:On the basis of the information available from you, it seems the baby had aspirated fluid into the lungs i.e. inhaled secretions and this can cause aspiration pneumonia with difficulty in breathing which may result in oxygen deficiency to various organs including brain. This could have been the cause of convulsions. I am sure tests like blood sugar, calcium and hemoglobin would have been done, derangements of which can also cause convulsions during the early newborn period. It is a good thing is that convulsions have stopped. If the baby is neurologically normal, CT scan/MRI brain is also normal with a normal EEG, chances of having problems later in form of recurrence of fits, and abnormal neurological behaviour are less, but this child needs to be under follow-up for neurological development.