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Minerva Anestesiologica 2012 September;78(9):1067-75

Copyright © 2012 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Neurophysiological monitoring in adult and pediatric intensive care

Amantini A. 1, Carrai R. 1, 4, Lori S. 1, Peris A. 2, Amadori A. 3, Pinto F. 1, Grippo A. 1, 4

1 Clinical Neurophysiology, Neuroscience Department, Careggi Teaching Hospital, Florence, Italy; 2 Intensive Care Unit, Emergency Department, Careggi Teaching Hospital, Florence, Italy; 3 Neurointensive Care Unit, Neuroscience Department, Careggi Teaching Hospital, Florence, Italy; 4 Neurologic Rehabilitation Unit, Don Carlo Gnocchi Fundation, ONLUS, IRCCS, Florence, Italy


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Clinical neurophysiology is both an extension of clinical examination and an integration of neuroimaging. It plays a role in diagnosis, prognosis and monitoring in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Electroencephalography (EEG) and somatosensory evoked potentials (SEPs) are the most informative neurophysiological tests. Both have a major prognostic role in the hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy and traumatic brain injury (TBI). In the former the absence of bilateral cortical SEPs has an unfavorable prognostic significance of 100%, whereas bilateral normal SEPs has uncertain prognostic value. In TBI these SEP patterns have high early prognostic value for both bad and good outcome. Continuous EEG monitoring is indicated for diagnosis and treatment of non convulsive seizures and status epilepticus (NCSE), whereas SEPs are more able to indicate the occurrence of neurological deterioration. In our opinion EEG-SEP monitoring is also valuable for interpretation and management of ICP trends, contributing to optimise treatment in a single patient.
The EEG seems to have the same prognostic utility in pediatric as in adult ICU. Recent reviews supported the use of SEPs in the integrated process of outcome prediction after acute brain injury in children. However differences in interpretation are needed and the issue is whether it is possible to establish an age limit over which the prediction of SEPs is similar to that in adults. There are only a few studies of seizure prevalence in pediatric ICU. The variability of frequency of NCSE in comatose children is high as in adults and, similar to the adult, remains unclear the impact on outcome.

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