Early serial EEG in hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy

Clin Neurophysiol. 2001 Jan;112(1):31-7. doi: 10.1016/s1388-2457(00)00517-4.


Objectives: To perform early serial EEGs in infants with hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE) and compare the findings with neurodevelopmental outcome.

Methods: Nine full-term neonates with HIE had simultaneous video-EEG polygraphic studies within 8 h of birth. The EEG was repeated at 12-24 h intervals. All surviving infants had a neurodevelopmental assessment at 1 year.

Results: Two infants had a normal or mildly abnormal EEG within 8 h of birth and neurodevelopmental outcome was normal. Seven infants had severely depressed background activity in the first 8 h of life. In 3 infants the EEG activity recovered within 12-24 h showing continuous activity with no or only minor abnormalities. All these infants had a normal outcome. The remaining 4 infants, who also had an initially inactive recording, subsequently developed severe background abnormalities. At follow-up, two infants had died and the remainder developed major neurological sequelae.

Conclusions: Early EEG is an excellent prognostic indicator for a favourable outcome if normal within the first 8 h of life and for a poor outcome if the background activity continues to be inactive or grossly abnormal beyond 8-12 h of life. However, an inactive or very depressed EEG within the first 8 h of life can be associated with good outcome if the EEG activity recovers within 12 h.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Analgesics, Opioid / pharmacology
  • Anticonvulsants / pharmacology
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia-Ischemia, Brain / physiopathology*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Morphine / pharmacology
  • Nervous System / growth & development
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Morphine