The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/cc10315) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
EB conceived of the study, participated in its design and helped to draft the manuscript. EM and AF participated in the design of the study and drafted the manuscript. BS performed the statistical analyses. PL and CS participated in the design and coordination of the study and helped to draft the manuscript. PZ conceived of the study and helped to draft the manuscript. EG helped to draft the manuscript and in performing the statistical analyses. Each author read and approved the final manuscript for publication.
Somatosensory evoked potential (SEP) recordings and continuous electroencephalography (EEG) are important tools with which to predict Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS) scores. Their combined use may potentially allow for early detection of neurological impairment and more effective treatment of clinical deterioration.
We followed up 68 selected comatose patients between 2007 and 2009 who had been admitted to the Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit of Treviso Hospital after being diagnosed with subarachnoid haemorrhage (51 cases) or intracerebral haemorrhage (17 cases). Quantitative brain function monitoring was carried out using a remote EEG-SEP recording system connected to a small amplification head box with 28 channels and a multimodal stimulator (NEMO; EBNeuro, Italy NeMus 2; EBNeuro S.p.A., Via P. Fanfani 97/A - 50127 Firenze, Italy). For statistical analysis, we fit a binary logistic regression model to estimate the effect of brain function monitoring on the probability of GOS scores equal to 1. We also designed a proportional odds model for GOS scores, depending on amplitude and changes in both SEPs and EEG as well as on the joint effect of other related variables. Both families of models, logistic regression analysis and proportional odds ratios, were fit by using a maximum likelihood test and the partial effect of each variable was assessed by using a likelihood ratio test.
Using the logistic regression model, we observed that progressive deterioration on the basis of EEG was associated with an increased risk of dying by almost 24% compared to patients whose condition did not worsen according to EEG. SEP decreases were also significant; for patients with worsening SEPs, the odds of dying increased to approximately 32%. In the proportional odds model, only modifications of Modified Glasgow Coma Scale scores and SEPs during hospitalisation statistically significantly predicted GOS scores. Patients whose SEPs worsened during the last time interval had an approximately 17 times greater probability of a poor GOS score compared to the other patients.
The combined use of SEPs and continuous EEG monitoring is a unique example of dynamic brain monitoring. The temporal variation of these two parameters evaluated by continuous monitoring can establish whether the treatments used for patients receiving neurocritical care are properly tailored to the neurological changes induced by the lesions responsible for secondary damage.
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- Dynamic monitors of brain function: a new target in neurointensive care unit
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