There is a gap of knowledge regarding cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) ion concentrations in normal and pathological states, particularly during the neonatal period. We aim to compare CSF ion concentrations in newborns with different causes of neonatal-onset epilepsy (NOE) and acute symptomatic seizures (ASS) and controls, to examine their usefulness for diagnostic purposes.
A descriptive retrospective study was conducted from January 2019 to June 2020 in a tertiary hospital. We analyzed CSF K, Na, Cl and Ca concentrations in frozen samples from patients with neonatal seizures (NS) secondary to NOE and ASS (neonatal arterial ischemic stroke [NAIS] and hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy). As the control group, we selected CSF samples from newborns who had undergone CSF analysis as part of the diagnostic workup and in whom central nervous system infections had been ruled out, without signs of dehydration, gastroenteritis, or history of seizures.
Sixty-eight newborns were included, 16 with NOE, 13 with ASS, and 39 without NS (control group). In comparison with the control group, [K] was lower in patients with KCNQ2-related epilepsy (P = 0.007), other causes of NOE (P = 0.010), and NAIS (P = 0.002). Changes in [Na], [Cl], and [Ca] were less consistent among subgroups.
Here we report for the first time ionic imbalances in the CSF of neonates with NOE and NAIS. No differences were observed between newborns with different causes of NS. Further studies should be undertaken to investigate the physiopathology behind these changes and their impact on biological function.

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