Neonatal electroencephalography and neuropathology

J Clin Neurophysiol. 1989 Apr;6(2):103-23. doi: 10.1097/00004691-198904000-00001.


One-hundred-eight EEGs from 47 newborn infants were compared with the postmortem neuropathological findings. The degree of EEG background abnormality had good correlation with the severity of the brain lesion; the more severe the EEG background abnormality, the more extensive and intensive the morphological change. Widespread encephalomalacia was demonstrated in six infants who manifested isoelectric tracings. In particular, cerebral cortex, corpus striatum, thalamus, midbrain, and pons were affected in all patients with this abnormal EEG pattern. Burst-suppression patterns, which were seen in seven infants, also correlated with multifocal severe brain damage, but there was no common structure that was consistently affected for all patients with this pattern. Positive rolandic sharp-wave transients (PRS) appeared highly specific for white matter lesions. All eight infants with PRS had white matter lesions. However, the sensitivity of PRS for white matter lesions was not high (32%), and the white matter lesions of PRS-positive patients were not necessarily composed of periventricular leukomalacia. The sensitivity of EEG asymmetry was also low (40%) for the focality of morphological change, although the specificity was relatively high (85%). The origin of seizure discharges, on the other hand, had poor correlation with the site of the brain lesion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Brain / pathology*
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / pathology
  • Cortical Synchronization
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Female
  • Fetal Hypoxia / pathology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn / physiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Seizures / physiopathology