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Rev Neurol. 2001 Sep 16-30;33(6):514-8.

[Neonatal EEG trace of burst suppression. Etiological and evolutionary factors].

[Article in Spanish]

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Servicio de Neurología, Hospital La Paz, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, España.



The electroencephalographic (EEG) trace seen during the neonatal period which shows so called discharges of burst suppression, is caused by a severe disorder of cerebral electrogenesis occurring at this time.


To determine the aetiology, clinical significance and evolution of a group of newborn babies with this type of EEG trace.


We made a retrospective study of fullterm babies in whom burst suppression EEG recordings had been obtained during the neonatal period.


We studied 34 patients. In 14 cases the trace was associated with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy; 4 with meningitis; another 4 with early infantile epileptic encephalopathy (Ohtahara syndrome); 4 cases were attributed to drugs (4 with fentanyl associated in one case with phenobarbitone and in another with midazolam); 2 cases were due to early myoclonic epilepsy; 3 to multiple organ failure; one to non ketotic hyperglycinemia and another to leucinosis. In one patient the aetiology could not be determined. Seven patients died before the age of 6 months. Severe neurological sequelae were seen in all the others except for four cases (3 treated with fentanyl and one case with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy).


The presence of a burst suppression EEG trace in a neonate makes extensive study to determine the aetiology necessary. Although associated with a worse prognosis, those not treated with piperidine derivatives should be classified separately. Those treated with piperidine derivatives have a good prognosis.

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