Detection of large vessel occlusion stroke with electroencephalography in the emergency room: first results of the ELECTRA-STROKE study

J Neurol. 2022 Apr;269(4):2030-2038. doi: 10.1007/s00415-021-10781-6. Epub 2021 Sep 2.


Background: Prehospital detection of large vessel occlusion stroke of the anterior circulation (LVO-a) would enable direct transportation of these patients to an endovascular thrombectomy (EVT) capable hospital. The ongoing ELECTRA-STROKE study investigates the diagnostic accuracy of dry electrode electroencephalography (EEG) for LVO-a stroke in the prehospital setting. To determine which EEG features are most useful for this purpose and assess EEG data quality, EEG recordings are also performed in the emergency room (ER). Here, we report data of the first 100 patients included in the ER.

Methods: Patients presented to the ER with a suspected stroke or known LVO-a stroke underwent a single EEG prior to EVT. Diagnostic accuracy for LVO-a stroke of frequency band power, brain symmetry and phase synchronization measures were evaluated by calculating receiver operating characteristic curves. Optimal cut-offs were determined as the highest sensitivity at a specificity of ≥ 80%.

Results: EEG data were of sufficient quality for analysis in 65/100 included patients. Of these, 35/65 (54%) had an acute ischemic stroke, of whom 9/65 (14%) had an LVO-a stroke. Median onset-to-EEG-time was 266 min (IQR 121-655) and median EEG-recording-time was 3 min (IQR 3-5). The EEG feature with the highest diagnostic accuracy for LVO-a stroke was theta-alpha ratio (AUC 0.83; sensitivity 75%; specificity 81%). Combined, weighted phase lag index and relative theta power best identified LVO-a stroke (sensitivity 100%; specificity 84%).

Conclusion: Dry electrode EEG is a promising tool for LVO-a stroke detection, but data quality needs to be improved and validation in the prehospital setting is necessary. (TRN: NCT03699397, registered October 9 2018).

Keywords: Acute ischemic stroke; Diagnostic method; EEG; Large vessel occlusion.

MeSH terms

  • Brain Ischemia* / diagnosis
  • Electroencephalography
  • Emergency Medical Services* / methods
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Humans
  • Ischemic Stroke*
  • Stroke* / diagnosis

Associated data