Objective To evaluate factors during acute presumed childhood encephalitis that are associated with development of long-term neurological sequelae. Methods A total of 217 patients from Rady Children's Hospital San Diego with suspected encephalitis who met criteria for the California Encephalitis Project were identified. A cohort of 99 patients (40 females, 59 males, age 2 months-17 years) without preexisting neurological conditions, including prior seizures or abnormal brain magnetic resonance imaging scans was studied. Mean duration of follow-up was 29 months. Factors that had a relationship with the development of neurological sequelae (defined as developmental delay, learning difficulties, behavioral problems, or focal neurological findings) after acute encephalitis were identified. Results Neurological sequelae at follow-up was associated with younger age (6.56 versus 9.22 years) at presentation (P = 0.04) as well as an initial presenting sign of seizure (P = 0.03). Duration of hospital stay (median of 7 versus 15.5 days; P = 0.02) was associated with neurological sequelae. Of the patients with neurological sequelae, a longer hospital stay was associated with patients of an older age (P = 0.04). Abnormalities on neuroimaging (P = 1.00) or spinal fluid analysis (P = 1.00) were not uniquely associated with neurological sequelae. Children who were readmitted after their acute illness (P = 0.04) were more likely to develop neurological sequelae. There was a strong relationship between the patients who later developed epilepsy and those who developed neurological sequelae (P = 0.02). Significance Limited data are available on the long-term neurological outcomes of childhood encephalitis. Almost half of our patients were found to have neurological sequelae at follow-up, indicating the importance of earlier therapies to improve neurological outcome.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|State||Published - Sep 1 2015|