An international survey of EEG use in the neonatal intensive care unit

Acta Paediatr. 2010 Aug;99(8):1150-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2010.01809.x. Epub 2010 Mar 26.


Objective: To examine the extent of EEG monitoring in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs), and to survey the level of experience and training of those using it.

Study design: A web-based survey, the link to which was circulated via e-mail, personal contact, specialist societies and professional groups. Survey data were exported to SPSS for analysis.

Results: In total 210 surveys were analysed; 124 from Europe, 54 from the US. Ninety percent of respondents had access to either EEG or aEEG monitoring; 51% had both. EEG was mainly interpreted by neurophysiologists (72%) whereas aEEG was usually interpreted by neonatologists (80%). Only 9% of respondents reported that they felt 'very confident' in their ability to interpret aEEG/EEG with 31% reporting that they were 'not confident'. Half had received no formal training in EEG.

Conclusion: Both aEEG and conventional EEG were used extensively in the NICUs surveyed for this study. Most of the survey respondents were not confident in their ability to interpret EEGs despite the fact that they used monitoring routinely. There is an urgent need for a structured and appropriately targeted training programme in EEG methodologies and EEG interpretation for neonatal intensive care unit staff.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Electroencephalography / classification
  • Electroencephalography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Europe
  • Health Care Surveys / methods
  • Health Personnel / psychology
  • Health Personnel / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care Units, Neonatal*
  • Internationality
  • Internet
  • United States