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J Clin Neurophysiol. 2011 Jun;28(3):264-77. doi: 10.1097/WNP..

Artifact: recording EEG in special care units.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic Florida, Jacksonville, Florida 32224, USA. tatum.william@mayo.edu

Abstract

Artifacts may be obtained during routine recording but are more common in special care units (SCUs) outside of the EEG laboratory, where complex electrical currents are present that create a "hostile" environment. Special care units include the epilepsy monitoring unit, neurologic intensive care unit, and operating room, where artifact is present in virtually every recording, increasing with prolonged use. Nonepileptic attacks treated as epileptic seizures have been incorrectly diagnosed and treated due to a misinterpreted EEG. The recent emergence of continuous EEG as a neurophysiologic surrogate for brain function in the neurologic intensive care unit and operating room has also brought a greater amount and new types of EEG artifact. The artifacts encountered in special care units during continuous EEG are becoming more complex and may have adverse therapeutic implications. Our knowledge of artifact needs to parallel our growth in technology to avoid the pitfalls that may be incurred during visual analysis of the EEG.

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