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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Neonatal seizures: soothing a burning topic

Matthew D Thornton, Lei Chen, Melissa L Langhan
Pediatric Emergency Care 2013, 29 (10): 1107-10
24084610
Neonatal seizures are a potentially life-threatening pediatric problem with a variety of causes, such as birth trauma, asphyxia, congenital anomalies, metabolic disturbances, infections, and drug withdrawal or intoxication. Thorough and timely evaluations of such patients are necessary to identify and treat the underlying etiology, therefore reducing potential morbidity and mortality. We review neonatal seizures and hypocalcemia and present the case of a 6-day-old male infant who presented to a tertiary pediatric emergency department with seizure-like episodes. He was found to have markedly low serum calcium, magnesium, and parathyroid hormone concentrations, as well as a significantly elevated serum phosphate concentration. The etiology of these abnormalities was found to be maternal ingestion of extremely high doses of calcium carbonate during the third trimester of her pregnancy, an occurrence that has been reported only once in the literature. Education pertaining to the dangers of excessive calcium carbonate intake during pregnancy may be an important piece of anticipatory guidance for pregnant mothers with symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux, and questioning the mother of a neonate presenting with seizures about such over-the-counter medications may help to elucidate the diagnosis.

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