Detailed clinical course of fatal acute encephalopathy in children



      Although the mortality among previously healthy children with acute encephalopathy (AE) is approximately 5%, their detailed clinical course has not been clarified. The objective of the present study was to describe the detailed clinical course, in minutes, of fatal AE.


      We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of five patients (from 6 months to 14 years of age) who previously had no neurological disorders and were diagnosed with brain death due to AE between 2002 and 2018 at Kobe Children’s Hospital.


      The initial clinical symptoms were convulsion in three cases and impaired consciousness in two. The earliest noted brain imaging abnormality was 7.5 h after neurological symptom detection. Liver enzymes and creatinine levels increased at initial examination, and sodium elevated gradually. All patients met the criteria of systemic inflammatory response syndrome, disseminated intravascular coagulation, and shock within 14 h of symptom detection. High dose steroids and targeted temperature management were initiated 3.5–14 h after onset. Despite these therapies, patients were diagnosed with brain death from 16 h to 4 days after initial neurological symptoms. AE diagnoses were made between 4 h 29 min and 4 days after initial neurological symptoms and included hemorrhagic shock and encephalopathy syndromes, Reye-like syndrome, and acute necrotizing encephalopathy in two, two, and one patient(s), respectively.


      We revealed the time series’ of clinical events (e.g. SIRS, shock, DIC, AE diagnosis, brain death, and treatments) and laboratory findings relative to initial neurological symptom in fatal AE.


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