The implementation of amplitude-integrated electroencephalography (aEEG) has enhanced the neurological monitoring of critically ill infants. Limited channel leads are applied to the patient and data are displayed in a semilogarithmic, time-compressed scale. Several classifications are currently in use to describe patient tracings, incorporating voltage criteria, pattern recognition, cyclicity, and the presence or absence of seizures. In term neonates, aEEG has been used to determine the prognosis and treatment for those affected by hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, seizures, meningitis and even congenital heart disease. Its application as inclusion criteria for therapeutic hypothermia remains controversial. In preterm infants, normative values and patterns corresponding to gestational age are being established. As these standards emerge, the predictive value of aEEG increases, especially in the setting of preterm brain injury and intraventricular hemorrhage. The sensitivity and specificity of aEEG are enhanced by the display of a simultaneous raw EEG, which aids interpretation. Caution must be taken when using and interpreting this tool in conjunction with certain medications and in the setting of less experienced staff. Continuing efforts at developing software that can aid seizure detection and background classification will enhance the bedside utility of this tool.
- cerebral function monitor
- neonatal encephalopathy