VE-CAM-S: Visual EEG-Based Grading of Delirium Severity and Associations with Clinical Outcomes

Ryan A. Tesh, Haoqi Sun, Jin Jing, Mike Westmeijer, Anudeepthi Neelagiri, Subapriya Rajan, Parimala V. Krishnamurthy, Pooja Sikka, Syed A. Quadri, Michael J. Leone, Luis Paixao, Ezhil Panneerselvam, Christine Eckhardt, Aaron F. Struck, Peter W. Kaplan, Oluwaseun Akeju, Daniel Jones, Eyal Y. Kimchi, M. Brandon Westover

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: To develop a physiologic grading system for the severity of acute encephalopathy manifesting as delirium or coma, based on EEG, and to investigate its association with clinical outcomes. DESIGN: This prospective, single-center, observational cohort study was conducted from August 2015 to December 2016 and October 2018 to December 2019. SETTING: Academic medical center, all inpatient wards. PATIENTS/SUBJECTS: Adult inpatients undergoing a clinical EEG recording; excluded if deaf, severely aphasic, developmentally delayed, non-English speaking (if noncomatose), or if goals of care focused primarily on comfort measures. Four-hundred six subjects were assessed; two were excluded due to technical EEG difficulties. INTERVENTIONS: None. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: A machine learning model, with visually coded EEG features as inputs, was developed to produce scores that correlate with behavioral assessments of delirium severity (Confusion Assessment Method-Severity [CAM-S] Long Form [LF] scores) or coma; evaluated using Spearman R correlation; area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC); and calibration curves. Associations of Visual EEG Confusion Assessment Method Severity (VE-CAM-S) were measured for three outcomes: functional status at discharge (via Glasgow Outcome Score [GOS]), inhospital mortality, and 3-month mortality. Four-hundred four subjects were analyzed (mean [sd] age, 59.8 yr [17.6 yr]; 232 [57%] male; 320 [79%] White; 339 [84%] non-Hispanic); 132 (33%) without delirium or coma, 143 (35%) with delirium, and 129 (32%) with coma. VE-CAM-S scores correlated strongly with CAM-S scores (Spearman correlation 0.67 [0.62-0.73]; p < 0.001) and showed excellent discrimination between levels of delirium (CAM-S LF = 0 vs ≥ 4, AUC 0.85 [0.78-0.92], calibration slope of 1.04 [0.87-1.19] for CAM-S LF ≤ 4 vs ≥ 5). VE-CAM-S scores were strongly associated with important clinical outcomes including inhospital mortality (AUC 0.79 [0.72-0.84]), 3-month mortality (AUC 0.78 [0.71-0.83]), and GOS at discharge (0.76 [0.69-0.82]). CONCLUSIONS: VE-CAM-S is a physiologic grading scale for the severity of symptoms in the setting of delirium and coma, based on visually assessed electroencephalography features. VE-CAM-S scores are strongly associated with clinical outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E0611
JournalCritical Care Explorations
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 18 2022


  • delirium
  • delirium severity
  • EEG
  • encephalopathy
  • prognosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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