Objective: Determine seizure frequency and association with neurologic outcomes in infants undergoing extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. Identify patient or clinical factors associated with seizures or brain injury on imaging. Methods: Retrospective, single-center study including infants less than 1 year of age, who underwent extracorporeal membrane oxygenation between 2012 and 2017. Results: A total of 104 infants met study criteria including 45 patients with continuous electroencephalographic (EEG) monitoring during their extracorporeal membrane oxygenation run and 59 infants without EEG. Seizures (electrographic-only or electro-clinical) were identified in 18 of the 45 (40%). Among the 18 infants with seizures, 14 (78%) had moderate to severe brain injury, whereas only 44% of those without seizures (12 of 27) on EEG had moderate to severe brain injury (P =.03). Cardiopulmonary resuscitation prior to extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECPR), mode of extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, length of stay, survival to discharge, and congenital heart disease were not associated with seizures. One of 10 patients with cyanotic congenital heart disease due to hypoplastic left heart syndrome had seizures compared with 7 of 10 patients with non–hypoplastic left heart syndrome lesions (P =.02). Seizures were associated with moderate to severe brain injury, after adjusting for ECPR and congenital heart disease (P =.04). Conclusions: Electrographic seizures were common in patients undergoing extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and higher than previously reported. Seizures were associated with moderate to severe abnormalities on imaging, after adjusting for ECPR and congenital heart disease. This study adds to recent literature describing the risk of seizures in patients on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation and highlights the presence of brain injuries that may be identified by routine EEG surveillance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-236
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Child Neurology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • congenital heart disease
  • electroencephalography
  • extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
  • neonatal
  • neurologic outcomes


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