Overcoming the practical challenges of electroencephalography for very preterm infants in the neonatal intensive care unit

Acta Paediatr. 2015 Feb;104(2):152-7. doi: 10.1111/apa.12869.


Aim: Long-term electroencephalogram (EEG) recording is increasingly being used in the neonatal period, but application and maintenance of the EEG electrodes is challenging, especially in preterm infants. This study proposes a practical method of electrode application that can be used in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Methods: EEG recording in preterm infants of <32 weeks of gestational age is often challenging and requires careful preparation and strict adherence to NICU protocols. An effective technique for EEG application in preterm infants is to use prepackaged, sterile, disposable, flat-surfaced EEG electrodes. The use of these electrodes in combination with a continuous positive airway pressure hat provides good security for electrodes and good quality EEG recordings. It also limits the handling of the infant, while strictly adhering to infection control policies.

Results: Long-term monitoring for >72 h has been achieved using this technique. Important steps to consider are efficient preparation of the recording machine and materials, careful electrode application and infection control.

Conclusion: A fast and effective method of EEG electrode placement is required for neonatal EEG monitoring. The practical techniques described in this article outline a reliable method of EEG electrode placement, suitable for even extremely preterm infants.

Keywords: Electrode application; Electroencephalography; Infants; Neonatal intensive care unit; Preterm.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Electrodes
  • Electroencephalography / instrumentation
  • Electroencephalography / methods*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Intensive Care, Neonatal / methods*