Electrophysiological prognostication and brain injury from cardiac arrest

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Anoxic coma after cardiorespiratory arrest warrants precocious investigation to establish probable outcome. Electroencephalogram (EEG) may uncover subclinical seizures; EEG grades have provided accurate prognosis of poor and favorable outcomes, but are weakest in those patients in between. Somatosensory evoked potentials now have proven benefit in accurately establishing a poor outcome (death or persistent vegetative state) when cortical responses (N20) are absent. These studies are particularly helpful when clinical examination of coma, early on, might yield uncertain prognosis (i.e., when brain stem reflexes are present). Combining clinical examination with electrophysiology has increasingly yielded multimodality approaches to early prognostication of coma after cardiorespiratory. arrest, with more recent studies using event-related and middle-latency potentials showing promise for distinguishing good outcome (to consciousness), from awake but vegetative states. Further studies are warranted for this multimodality approach which, hopefully, may yield more widespread practical use of these testing modalities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)403-412
Number of pages10
JournalSeminars in neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Anoxic coma
  • Cardiorespiratory arrest
  • Electroencephalography
  • Outcome
  • Prognosis
  • Somatosensory evoked potentials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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