Phase synchronization in electroencephalographic recordings prognosticates outcome in paediatric coma

PLoS One. 2014 Apr 21;9(4):e94942. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0094942. eCollection 2014.


Brain injury from trauma, cardiac arrest or stroke is the most important cause of death and acquired disability in the paediatric population. Due to the lifetime impact of brain injury, there is a need for methods to stratify patient risk and ultimately predict outcome. Early prognosis is fundamental to the implementation of interventions to improve recovery, but no clinical model as yet exists. Healthy physiology is associated with a relative high variability of physiologic signals in organ systems. This was first evaluated in heart rate variability research. Brain variability can be quantified through electroencephalographic (EEG) phase synchrony. We hypothesised that variability in brain signals from EEG recordings would correlate with patient outcome after brain injury. Lower variability in EEG phase synchronization, would be associated with poor patient prognosis. A retrospective study, spanning 10 years (2000-2010) analysed the scalp EEGs of children aged 1 month to 17 years in coma (Glasgow Coma Scale, GCS, <8) admitted to the paediatric critical care unit (PCCU) following brain injury from TBI, cardiac arrest or stroke. Phase synchrony of the EEGs was evaluated using the Hilbert transform and the variability of the phase synchrony calculated. Outcome was evaluated using the 6 point Paediatric Performance Category Score (PCPC) based on chart review at the time of hospital discharge. Outcome was dichotomized to good outcome (PCPC score 1 to 3) and poor outcome (PCPC score 4 to 6). Children who had a poor outcome following brain injury secondary to cardiac arrest, TBI or stroke, had a higher magnitude of synchrony (R index), a lower spatial complexity of the synchrony patterns and a lower temporal variability of the synchrony index values at 15 Hz when compared to those patients with a good outcome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Coma / physiopathology*
  • Demography
  • Electrodes
  • Electroencephalography Phase Synchronization*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Prognosis
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome