Journal Article
Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
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Electrographic predictors of successful weaning from anaesthetics in refractory status epilepticus.

Brain 2020 April 2
Intravenous third-line anaesthetic agents are typically titrated in refractory status epilepticus to achieve either seizure suppression or burst suppression on continuous EEG. However, the optimum treatment paradigm is unknown and little data exist to guide the withdrawal of anaesthetics in refractory status epilepticus. Premature withdrawal of anaesthetics risks the recurrence of seizures, whereas the prolonged use of anaesthetics increases the risk of treatment-associated adverse effects. This study sought to measure the accuracy of features of EEG activity during anaesthetic weaning in refractory status epilepticus as predictors of successful weaning from intravenous anaesthetics. We prespecified a successful anaesthetic wean as the discontinuation of intravenous anaesthesia without developing recurrent status epilepticus, and a wean failure as either recurrent status epilepticus or the resumption of anaesthesia for the purpose of treating an EEG pattern concerning for incipient status epilepticus. We evaluated two types of features as predictors of successful weaning: spectral components of the EEG signal, and spatial-correlation-based measures of functional connectivity. The results of these analyses were used to train a classifier to predict wean outcome. Forty-seven consecutive anaesthetic weans (23 successes, 24 failures) were identified from a single-centre cohort of patients admitted with refractory status epilepticus from 2016 to 2019. Spectral components of the EEG revealed no significant differences between successful and unsuccessful weans. Analysis of functional connectivity measures revealed that successful anaesthetic weans were characterized by the emergence of larger, more densely connected, and more highly clustered spatial functional networks, yielding 75.5% (95% confidence interval: 73.1-77.8%) testing accuracy in a bootstrap analysis using a hold-out sample of 20% of data for testing and 74.6% (95% confidence interval 73.2-75.9%) testing accuracy in a secondary external validation cohort, with an area under the curve of 83.3%. Distinct signatures in the spatial networks of functional connectivity emerge during successful anaesthetic liberation in status epilepticus; these findings are absent in patients with anaesthetic wean failure. Identifying features that emerge during successful anaesthetic weaning may allow faster and more successful anaesthetic liberation after refractory status epilepticus.

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