EEG Monitoring Technique Influences the Management of Hypoxic-Ischemic Seizures in Neonates Undergoing Therapeutic Hypothermia

Saber Jan, Frances J. Northington, Charlamaine M. Parkinson, Carl E. Stafstrom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Electroencephalogram (EEG) monitoring techniques for neonatal hypoxia-ischemia (HI) are evolving over time, and the specific type of EEG utilized could influence seizure diagnosis and management. We examined whether the type of EEG performed affected seizure treatment decisions (e.g., the choice and number of antiseizure drugs [ASDs]) in therapeutic hypothermia-treated neonates with HI from 2007 to 2015 in the Johns Hopkins Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. During this period, 3 different EEG monitoring protocols were utilized: Period 1 (2007-2009), single, brief conventional EEG (1 h duration) at a variable time during therapeutic hypothermia treatment, i.e., ordered when a seizure was suspected; Period 2 (2009-2013), single, brief conventional EEG followed by amplitude-integrated EEG for the duration of therapeutic hypothermia treatment and another brief conventional EEG after rewarming; and Period 3 (2014-2015), continuous video-EEG (cEEG) for the duration of therapeutic hypothermia treatment (72 h) plus for an additional 12 h during and after rewarming. One hundred and sixty-two newborns were included in this retrospective cohort study. As a function of the type and duration of EEG monitoring, we assessed the risk (likelihood) of receiving no ASD, at least 1 ASD, or ≥2 ASDs. We found that the risk of a neonate being prescribed an ASD was 46% less during Period 3 (cEEG) than during Period 1 (brief conventional EEG only) (95% CI 6-69%, p = 0.03). After adjusting for initial EEG and MRI results, compared with Period 1, there was a 38% lower risk of receiving an ASD during Period 2 (95% CI: 9-58%, p = 0.02) and a 67% lower risk during Period 3 (95% CI: 23-86%, p = 0.01). The risk ratio of receiving ≥2 ASDs was not significantly different across the 3 periods. In conclusion, in addition to the higher sensitivity and specificity of continuous video-EEG monitoring, fewer infants are prescribed an ASD when undergoing continuous forms of EEG monitoring (aEEG or cEEG) than those receiving conventional EEG. We recommend that use of continuous video-EEG be considered whenever possible, both to treat seizures more specifically and to avoid overtreatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)82-88
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopmental Neuroscience
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017


  • Amplitude-integrated electroencephalogram
  • Antiseizure drug
  • Electroencephalography
  • Hypoxia-ischemia
  • Neonatal seizure
  • Therapeutic hypothermia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience


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