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Amplitude-integrated EEG in preterm infants: maturation of background pattern and amplitude voltage with postmenstrual age and gestational age.

OBJECTIVE: Amplitude-integrated electroencephalogram (aEEG) is a single channel EEG recorded from two parietal electrodes. The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that aEEG maturation follows postmenstrual age (PMA) irrespective of gestational age (GA).

METHODS: We recruited inborn infants with a GA <33 weeks and without evidence of neurologic anomaly. Serial aEEG recordings were assessed for: presence of continuous activity and mature sleep-wake cycling (SWC); low base voltage (V), that is, the lowest amplitude margin; high base V, that is, the most common amplitude margin; upper high V, that is, upper margin during highest activity; and span, that is, the difference between upper high and simultaneous high base V. Statistical analysis included logistic regression and repeated measures analysis of variance.

RESULTS: We obtained 119 aEEG recordings in 31 preterm infants (GA 25 to 32 weeks; birth weight 600 to 1704 g, PMA 25 to 35 weeks). The frequency of mature SWC increased with PMA independent of GA, while the frequency of continuity increased with PMA and was higher in extremely preterm infants after correcting for PMA. Low base and high base V increased with PMA, while span and upper high V significantly decreased with PMA. In addition, high base V was higher in extremely preterm infants after correcting for PMA.

CONCLUSIONS: In preterm infants aEEG matures predominantly with PMA. Our data suggest that some aspects of aEEG maturation are enhanced, rather than inhibited by extremely preterm birth. These data suggest that aEEG in preterm infants may need to be analyzed by comparing results with standards of similar PMA and GA.

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