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Prognostic value of neonatal electroencephalography in premature newborns less than 33 weeks of gestational age.

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  • 1Department of Neonatalogy, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, Hôpital Charles Nicolle, Rouen, France.


In a prospective study of 417 premature neonates born before 33 weeks' gestational age, neonatal tracings were reviewed to evaluate the use of EEG in prognosis of neurological injuries. The population was divided into two groups: Group 1, infants who died before the age of 1, and Group 2, survivors in which two categories of motor development were considered. Category A, were abnormal, and Category B, were always normal. Positive rolandic sharp waves (PRSW), which reflect white matter injury, occurred equally in both groups, indicating a similar incidence of white matter damage in Groups 1 and 2. In Group 2, there was a significant correlation of PRSW with developmental motor sequelae (Category A). A frequency of PRSW above 2/min (suggesting more severe periventricular white matter injury) and seizures were significantly more prevalent in Group 1 than in Group 2 and in Category A of Group 2 than in Category B. Background abnormalities occurred equally in both subgroups of extremely premature infants (< or = 28 weeks' gestation) they were significantly more numerous in the subgroup of very premature infants (between 28 and 33 weeks' gestation) who died, than in the subgroup of very premature infants who survived. This study shows the potential utility of using neonatal EEG in association with transfontanellar ultrasonography in anticipating the neurological development of very (> 28 weeks' gestation) and extremely (< or = 28 weeks' gestation) premature newborns.

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