Recovery of aEEG Patterns at 24 Hours of Hypothermia Predicts Good Neurodevelopmental Outcome

Matteo Giampietri, Pascal Biver, Paolo Ghirri, Laura Bartalena, Rosa Teresa Scaramuzzo, Andrea Guzzetta, Erika Fiorentini, Simona Fiori, Viviana Marchi, Antonio Boldrini, Giovanni Cioni and Renzo Guerrini

Background: The clinical use of amplitude integrated electroencephalogram (aEEG) in the neonatal intensive care unit has largely increased. This method has been reported to have a very good predictive value for neurodevelopmental outcome in term neonates after perinatal asphyxia.

Aim: The aim of this study was to assess the recovery of aEEG patterns during hypothermic treatment in full term asphyxiated neonates. Our working hypothesis is that children with aEEG recovery within 24 h of therapeutic hypothermia will have a normal development outcome (i.e., no or mild neurological impairment).

Study design: We performed an observational prospective study on a group of asphyxiated patients admitted to our Neonatal Intensive Care Unit from April 2009 to April 2012. Results: 24 patients with moderate to severe perinatal asphyxia had an aEEG recorded for at least 72 h during hypotermia (at the beginning of the registration 13 patients presented moderate aEEG abnormalities and 11 severe aEEG abnormalities). Respectively 11 neonates with moderate aEEG abnormalities and 1 neonate with severe abnormalities normalized the aEEG pattern during the treatment. At the follow up 3 patients died during neonatal age, 5 babies developed cerebral palsy, 4 babies developed dyskinetic cerebral palsy and 12 babies did not develop any disability (babies with good outcome were those with normal aEEG pattern at 24 h).

Conclusion: Recovery to a normal aEEG background pattern within the first 24 h of hypothermia after perinatal asphyxia predicts a normal outcome. Abnormal aEEG pattern persisting after 24 h correlates with poor outcome (death or cerebral palsy).