EEG patterns in 10 extreme premature neonates with normal neurological outcome: qualitative and quantitative data

Marie-Françoise Vecchierini, Anne-Marie d'Allest, Patrice Verpillat
Brain & Development 2003, 25 (5): 330-7
The aim of this prospective study was to describe and quantify EEG patterns in 10 very premature infants (24 weeks 2 days- 26 weeks 4 days GA) without neonatal neurological pathology and with a normal outcome at 3 years of age for nine of them. EEG and eye movements were recorded in the first 5 days of life. All tracings were discontinuous; EEG inactivity (<15 microV) never exceeded 1 min, representing 45.3% of total recording time. The EEG bursts, mainly synchronous, could last up to 83 s when >50 microV and to 197 s when >15 microV. High voltage delta waves (0.5 Hz; up to 330 microV), either smooth or superimposed with 7-12 Hz rhythms, were the most typical and frequent figures, mainly in temporal (mean number 257.2 +/- 73.3) and occipital (237.7 +/- 65.8 per hour recording) areas. In temporal areas, they appeared mainly in clusters; more often unilateral than bilateral (P < 0.05). Occipital delta waves were as often bilateral and synchronous as unilateral. The two distinct frontal delta waves were significantly less numerous than other delta waves (P < 0.05). Bursts of hypersynchronous high voltage delta waves and of diffuse sharp theta waves were less numerous than other waves (P < 0.01). Considering periods with or without eye movements, the mean percentage and the mean longest period of EEG activity (< or =50 microV) were significantly greater (P < 0.01) when eye movements were present, indicating a rough sleep state differentiation as early as 25 weeks CA. These EEG patterns are qualitatively and quantitatively reproducible. They constitute standards of normality and a basis for the determination of neurological prognosis.

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