Sensitivity of Continuous Electroencephalography to Detect Ictal Activity After Cardiac Arrest

Academic Article


  • Importance: Epileptiform electroencephalographic (EEG) patterns are common after resuscitation from cardiac arrest, are associated with patient outcome, and may require treatment. It is unknown whether continuous EEG monitoring is needed to detect these patterns or if brief intermittent monitoring is sufficient. If continuous monitoring is required, the necessary duration of observation is unknown. Objective: To quantify the time-dependent sensitivity of continuous EEG for epileptiform event detection, and to compare continuous EEG to several alternative EEG-monitoring strategies for post-cardiac arrest outcome prediction. Design, Setting, and Participants: This observational cohort study was conducted in 2 academic medical centers between September 2010 and January 2018. Participants included 759 adults who were comatose after being resuscitated from cardiac arrest and who underwent 24 hours or more of EEG monitoring. Main Outcomes and Measures: Epileptiform EEG patterns associated with neurological outcome at hospital discharge, such as seizures likely to cause secondary injury. Results: Overall, 759 patients were included in the analysis; 281 (37.0%) were female, and the mean (SD) age was 58 (17) years. Epileptiform EEG activity was observed in 414 participants (54.5%), of whom only 26 (3.4%) developed potentially treatable seizures. Brief intermittent EEG had an estimated 66% (95% CI, 62%-69%) to 68% (95% CI, 66%-70%) sensitivity for detection of prognostic epileptiform events. Depending on initial continuity of the EEG background, 0 to 51 hours of monitoring were needed to achieve 95% sensitivity for the detection of prognostic epileptiform events. Brief intermittent EEG had a sensitivity of 7% (95% CI, 4%-12%) to 8% (95% CI, 4%-12%) for the detection of potentially treatable seizures, and 0 to 53 hours of continuous monitoring were needed to achieve 95% sensitivity for the detection of potentially treatable seizures. Brief intermittent EEG results yielded similar information compared with continuous EEG results when added to multivariable models predicting neurological outcome. Conclusions and Relevance: Compared with continuous EEG monitoring, brief intermittent monitoring was insensitive for detection of epileptiform events. Monitoring EEG results significantly improved multimodality prediction of neurological outcome, but continuous monitoring appeared to add little additional information compared with brief intermittent monitoring.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • JAMA Network Open  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Elmer J; Coppler PJ; Solanki P; Westover MB; Struck AF; Baldwin ME; Kurz MC; Callaway CW
  • Start Page

  • e203751
  • Volume

  • 3
  • Issue

  • 4