Infant Seizures Could Indicate a Birth Injury
The brain is composed of nerve cells that communicate using electrical activity. A seizure occurs when there is abnormal electrical activity in different parts of the brain. Unfortunately, this can happen in both children and adults.
Estimates based on population suggest that 25,000 to 40,000 children in the United States have an unprovoked seizure every year. It includes several seizures that could occur within a 24-hour period if the child returns to baseline consciousness in between episodes.
What May Cause Seizures in Infants?
- Structural causes
Your child may experience perinatal hypoxia, or the lack of oxygen despite being born on time. Obstetric emergencies such as cord compression, placental abruption, and drop in the mother’s blood pressure can cause this problem. This situation induces a brain injury called “hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy,” which is a frequent cause of infant seizures.
It is also possible that the child already has brain damage at birth, known as dysgenesis or dysplasia.
- Metabolic causes
Having low levels of calcium, glucose, or magnesium in his blood can contribute to seizures.
Your child may have an infection such as encephalitis, meningitis, toxoplasmosis or cytomegalovirus. Bacteria such as Escherichia coli or Streptococcus pneumoniae are the usual causes of infections.
Medical conditions passed on through genetics, such as Dravet syndrome or GLUT 1 deficiency, may also be the cause of the seizure.
Signs to Look for if Your Infant is Having a Seizure
It is quite difficult to detect if your infant has a seizure. Many of the signs and symptoms are similar to the usual actions and movements of infants. It is highly recommended to take a video of your child and show it to a doctor to confirm.
If taking a video is impossible, make sure to take note of all that you see, such as:
- Your child’s body or some parts of his body may stiffen suddenly. This condition is known as tonic seizure.
- Some muscle groups in the neck, shoulders, or upper arms may jerk in clusters many times each day or for a few days in a row. This condition is known as myoclonic seizure.
- Your child may suddenly become unresponsive and limp. His head drops, or he suddenly falls while walking or crawling. This condition is called atonic seizure.
- You may see absence seizure wherein your child stares into space, blinking his eyes abruptly or moving his mouth as if he is chewing.
- Focal seizures may also occur wherein your child has spasms, becomes pale, vomits, cries, screams, smacks his lips, or gags.
- There is also a rare form of seizure called infantile spasm, which is characterized by stiff legs and arms, arching of the back, and bending forward.
If you think your child is having a seizure, call 911 or take him immediately to the emergency room. You can ask your doctor for more information on how to determine if your child needs to go to the hospital or not.
How is Infant Seizure Diagnosed?
During diagnosis, the doctor will collect information on your child’s medical history. He will try to look for pertinent information that may have contributed to the seizure. It may or may not include head injury, recent fever or infection, preterm birth, or recent medications.
Some assessments may also be requested, such as a neurological exam, blood tests, imaging tests (via CT scan or MRI), lumbar puncture, or electroencephalogram.
Late Detection May Cause Serious Complications to Your Child
Infant seizures are usually symptoms that convey a severe underlying condition, including a brain injury. Your baby should be able to receive fast and specialized care if he experiences seizures.
You need to know if any developmental abnormalities cause complications such as mental retardation or cerebral palsy. It is estimated that half of the infants who experience seizures will experience epilepsy later on.
If Infant Seizures Could Have Been Avoided, Consult Your Michigan Birth Injury Lawyer.
There are times when such unwanted situations could have been avoided. For instance, it is the doctor’s responsibility to check for any possible infections and provide treatment. Medical staff should be able to prepare for any obstetric emergencies. Failing to do so can be considered negligence.
Consult a lawyer if you feel that your child’s doctor may have fallen short of providing the needed care for your child. Our team in The Clark Law Office specializes in birth injury cases. Book an appointment with our expert birth injury lawyers today.