EEG and Coma Recovery Scale-Revised prediction of neurological outcome in Disorder of Consciousness patients

Acta Neurol Scand. 2020 Sep;142(3):221-228. doi: 10.1111/ane.13247. Epub 2020 Apr 14.


Objective: According to electroencephalogram (EEG) descriptors included in the American Clinical Neurophysiology Society (ACNS) terminology, we generated a score, and we compared it to the EEG scores previously proposed in order to identify the one with the best prognostic power for neurological outcome at post-acute stages in patients with severe disorders of consciousness (DoC).

Materials and methods: Patients included in the analysis were clinically evaluated with the Coma Recovery Scale-Revised (CRS-R). An EEG was performed within the first week after admission to Intensive Rehabilitation Unit (IRU). EEGs were classified according to the ACNS terminology and to the scores of Bagnato and Estraneo.

Results: A total of 260 patients admitted to the IRU were analysed. A total of 160 patients (61%) improved their consciousness level during IRU stay. EEG score based on the ANCS terminology showed higher overall performance (receiver-operating area under the curve = 0.79) and greater sensitivity (65%), at comparable specificities (80%), for clinical improvement as compared to both CRS-R admission score and other EEG scores. Combining our EEG score with CRS-R score at admission, the cumulative sensitivity increased to 76% when at least one good prognostic index test was present in the same patient, whereas specificity increased up to 93% if both the good prognostic patterns of clinical and instrumental parameters were simultaneously present.

Conclusion: The EEG scored according to the ACNS terminology is the best among those looked at for the prediction of short-term clinical improvement in patients with DoC and represents a useful instrumental test, complementary to clinical evaluation at admission, to be added in post-acute neurological prognostication methods.

Keywords: acquired brain injuries; electroencephalogram (EEG); post-acute prognosis; prognosis; severe disorders of consciousness; standardized EEG classification.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain Injuries / complications
  • Brain Injuries / diagnosis
  • Brain Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Coma / diagnosis*
  • Coma / etiology*
  • Coma / rehabilitation
  • Consciousness Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Consciousness Disorders / etiology*
  • Consciousness Disorders / rehabilitation
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Persistent Vegetative State
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Recovery of Function
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Treatment Outcome