Quantitative EEG improves prediction of Sturge-Weber syndrome in infants with port-wine birthmark

Clin Neurophysiol. 2021 Oct;132(10):2440-2446. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2021.06.030. Epub 2021 Aug 5.


Objective: Port-wine birthmark (PWB) is a common occurrence in the newborn, and general pediatricians, dermatologists, and ophthalmologists are often called on to make an assessment of risk for Sturge-Weber syndrome (SWS) due to workforce shortages in pediatric neurologists and MRI's low sensitivity for SWS brain involvement in infants. We therefore aimed to develop a quantitative EEG (qEEG) approach to safely screen young infants with PWB for SWS risk and optimal timing of diagnostic MRI.

Methods: Forty-eight infants (prior to first birthday) underwent EEG recording. Signal processing methods compared voltage between left and right sides using a previously defined pipeline and diagnostic threshold. In this test sample, we compared sensitivity/specificity of the qEEG metric against MRI performed after the first birthday. We also used likelihood ratio testing to determine whether qEEG adds incremental information beyond topographical extent of PWB, another risk marker of brain involvement.

Results: qEEG helped predict SWS risk in the first year of life (p = 0.031), with a sensitivity of 50% and a specificity of 81%. It added about 40% incremental information beyond PWB extent alone (p = 0.042).

Conclusion: qEEG adds information to risk prediction in infants with facial PWB.

Significance: qEEG can be used to help determine whether to obtain an MRI in the first year of life. The data collected can assist in developing a predictive model risk calculator that incorporates both PWB extent and qEEG results, which can be validated and then employed in the community.

Keywords: Diagnostic biomarker; Ischemia; Port-wine birthmark; Predictive model; Prognostic biomarker; Quantitative EEG; Sturge-Weber syndrome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cohort Studies
  • Electroencephalography / methods*
  • Electroencephalography / standards
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Port-Wine Stain / diagnosis*
  • Port-Wine Stain / physiopathology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sturge-Weber Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Sturge-Weber Syndrome / physiopathology*