There are questions and challenges regarding neurologic complications in COVID-19 patients. EEG is a safe and efficient tool for the evaluation of brain function, even in the context of COVID-19. However, EEG technologists should not be put in danger if obtaining an EEG does not significantly advance diagnosis or change management in the patient. Not every neurologic problem stems from a primary brain injury: confusion, impaired consciousness that evolves to stupor and coma, and headaches are frequent in hypercapnic/hypoxic encephalopathies. In patients with chronic pulmonary disorders, acute symptomatic seizures have been reported in acute respiratory failure in 6%. The clinician should be aware of the various EEG patterns in hypercapnic/hypoxic and anoxic (post-cardiac arrest syndrome) encephalopathies as well as encephalitides. In this emerging pandemic of infectious disease, single-use subdermal EEG needle electrodes may be used in comatose patients. Full EEG montages using the 10-20 system, including a derivation for ECG, are strongly recommended so as to cover relevant temporal lobe regions. We recommend noting whether the patient is undergoing or has been placed prone, as well as noting the body and head position during the EEG recording (supine versus prone) to avoid overinterpretation of respiratory, head movement, electrode, muscle or other artifacts. There is slight elevation of intracranial pressure in the prone position. In non-comatose patients, the hyperventilation procedure should be avoided. At present, non-specific EEG findings and abnormalities should not be considered as being specific for COVID-19 related encephalopathy.
Keywords: COVID-19; Coma; EEG; ICU; Prone position.
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