Sleep assessment in preterm infants: Use of actigraphy and aEEG

Sleep Med. 2023 Jan:101:260-268. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2022.11.020. Epub 2022 Nov 20.


Objective: Objective methods to monitor the sleep of preterm infants at the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) are required to prevent potentially adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes. This study aimed to determine the concordance of actigraphy and amplitude-integrated electroencephalogram (aEEG) against gold standard direct observation (DO) in assessing sleep/wake states of typically developing preterm infants.

Methods: This prospective observational study was conducted in a single center level III NICU. Sleep variables were measured using Philips Respironics Mini-Mitter® Actiwatch-2 for 24 h and compared with 8-h matched data of aEEG and DO. Sensitivity-specificity analysis, Cohen's kappa, prevalence-adjusted and bias-adjusted kappa (PABAK), and Bland Altman plots were generated.

Results: Seventeen preterm infants were recruited. A total of 11252 epochs were studied. Sensitivity (86.4%), agreement rate (67.9%), and predictive value for wake (47.9%) for the actigraphy were highest at the automatic activity threshold whereas specificity (54.5%) and predictive value for sleep (75.5%) were highest at low threshold. The sensitivity of aEEG was 79.3% and the specificity was 54.3%. At all thresholds, the agreement was largely equivalent with low kappas (0.14-0.17) and PABAK coefficients (0.22-0.35) for actigraphy and DO. Moderate agreement was observed between aEEG and DO according to the PABAK coefficient (0.44). Mean differences in sleep parameters were not different between DO and aEEG as well as DO/aEEG and actigraphy at medium threshold (p > 0.05).

Conclusions: Actigraphy at medium threshold can be used in depicting sleep in typically developing preterm infants at NICU. aEEG may be an alternative adjunctive method to actigraphy for the evaluation of sleep/wake states in the NICU setting.

Clinical trial registration number: NCT04145362.

Keywords: Actigraphy; Amplitude-integrated electroencephalography; Development; Newborn; Preterm; Sleep-wake cycle.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actigraphy*
  • Electroencephalography / methods
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Sleep

Associated data