Continuous EEG monitoring in the intensive care unit: early findings and clinical efficacy

J Clin Neurophysiol. 1999 Jan;16(1):1-13. doi: 10.1097/00004691-199901000-00001.


The assessment of the neurocritical care patient involves serial assessment of neurologic status using bedside clinical examination and a variety of periodic neurophysiologic testing. Continuous electroencephalographic (CEEG) monitoring in the intensive care unit offers a unique means to track neurologic function directly and regionally. CEEG is becoming more widespread with a growing but small body of literature. The purpose of this paper is to outline the current experience with intensive care unit CEEG monitoring. The basic methods and caveats are discussed. We review the underlying rationale for using CEEG which is that secondary neurologic injury commonly occurs in the intensive care unit and at times is hard to detect. CEEG has a proven role in detecting secondary injuries, namely seizures and brain ischemia. The basic tenets of establishing clinical effectiveness for CEEG in the ICU are discussed while acknowledging a need for further study of clinical effectiveness. We review our initial clinical experience of CEEG in 300 patients and outline the clinical efficacy in terms of cost reduction and improvement in outcome (P < 0.01) using CEEG. Finally, several controversial aspects of CEEG are enumerated, and the need for additional study to answer these pressing questions is presented.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Brain / blood supply
  • Brain Ischemia / diagnosis
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Female
  • Health Services / economics
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units*
  • Male
  • Seizures / diagnosis*
  • Time Factors
  • United States