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Neurology. 2011 Feb 8;76(6):556-62. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e31820af91a.

Video-EEG monitoring in newborns with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy treated with hypothermia.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, USA.



Therapeutic hypothermia (TH) is becoming standard of care in newborns with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). The prognostic value of the EEG and the incidence of seizures during TH are uncertain.


To describe evolution of EEG background and incidence of seizures during TH, and to identify EEG patterns predictive for MRI brain injury.


A total of 41 newborns with HIE underwent TH. Continuous video-EEG was performed during hypothermia and rewarming. EEG background and seizures were reported in a standardized manner. Newborns underwent MRI after rewarming. Sensitivity and specificity of EEG background for moderate to severe MRI brain injury was assessed at 6-hour intervals during TH and rewarming.


EEG background improved in 49%, remained the same in 38%, and worsened in 13%. A normal EEG had a specificity of 100% upon initiation of monitoring and 93% at later time points. Burst suppression and extremely low voltage patterns held the greatest prognostic value only after 24 hours of monitoring, with a specificity of 81% at the beginning of cooling and 100% at later time points. A discontinuous pattern was not associated with adverse outcome in most patients (73%). Electrographic seizures occurred in 34% (14/41), and 10% (4/41) developed status epilepticus. Seizures had a clinical correlate in 57% (8/14) and were subclinical in 43% (6/14).


Continuous video-EEG monitoring in newborns with HIE undergoing TH provides prognostic information about early MRI outcome and accurately identifies electrographic seizures, nearly half of which are subclinical.

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