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J Clin Neurophysiol. 2004 Sep-Oct;21(5):353-78.

Data analysis for continuous EEG monitoring in the ICU: seeing the forest and the trees.

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Department of Neurology, University of Pittsburgh Epilepsy Center, Kaufmann Medical Building, 3471 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, U.S.A.


Continuous EEG monitoring (CEEG) is a powerful tool for evaluating cerebral function in obtunded and comatose critically ill patients. The ongoing analysis of CEEG data is a major task because of the volume of data generated during monitoring and the need for near real-time interpretation of a patient's EEG patterns. Advances in digital EEG data acquisition, computer processing, data transmission, and data display have made CEEG monitoring in the intensive care unit technically feasible. A variety of quantitative EEG tools such as Fourier analysis and amplitude-integrated EEG, and other methods of data analysis such as computerized seizure detection, increasingly allow for focused review of EEG epochs of potential interest. These tools reduce the tremendous time burdens that accompany analysis of the complete CEEG data stream, and allow bedside personnel and nonexpert staff to potentially recognize significant EEG changes in a timely fashion. This article uses literature review and clinical case examples to illustrate techniques for the display and analysis of intensive care unit CEEG recordings. Areas requiring further research and development are discussed.

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