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Pediatr Neurol. 2005 Nov;33(5):345-9.

Reactive EEG patterns in pediatric coma.

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Division of Neurology, Department of Paediatrics, The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


This study was designed to determine whether the observed reactive electroencephalographic patterns in comatose children were associated with a better outcome. All electroencephalograms performed in comatose children aged 2 months to 18 years during the period 1996-2003 were retrospectively analyzed and classified according to modified Young's classification. Reactivity to painful/auditory stimuli and passive eye closure (at least two modalities) was checked in all electroencephalograms. The clinical outcome at 1 year or during the last clinic/inpatient follow-up was scored according to the Pediatric Cerebral and Overall Performance Category Scale. Outcomes were then compared using Fisher exact test and the Mann-Whitney test. Thirty-three patients had electroencephalography within 72 hours after the onset of coma. Fourteen of 33 electroencephalograms revealed reactive patterns. Outcome was unfavorable in 4 (28.6%) of these patients. Three children had no residual neurologic impairment. Among the 19 children with nonreactive electroencephalogram, 13 (65%) had unfavorable outcome, which included 10 deaths. All the survivors had residual neurologic impairment. Outcome was better in children with reactive electroencephalographic patterns (Fisher exact test; P = 0.023). Comatose children with reactive electroencephalographic patterns have better clinical outcome in terms of morbidity and mortality. A careful assessment of electroencephalographic reactive patterns in all comatose children is required for better understanding of the clinical outcome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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