EEG Patterns and Outcomes After Hypoxic Brain Injury: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Kevin Perera, Sundus Khan, Shaily Singh, Julie Kromm, Meng Wang, Tolulope Sajobi, Nathalie Jetté, Samuel Wiebe, Colin B. Josephson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Electroencephalography (EEG) is used to prognosticate recovery in comatose patients with hypoxic ischemic brain injury (HIBI) secondary to cardiac arrest. We sought to determine the prognostic use of specific EEG patterns for predicting disability and death following HIBI secondary to cardiac arrest. This systematic review searched Medline, Embase, and Cochrane Central up to January 2020. We included original research involving prospective and retrospective cohort studies relating specific EEG patterns to disability and death in comatose adult patients suffering HIBI post cardiac arrest requiring admission to an intensive care setting. We evaluated study quality using the Quality of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies 2 tool. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize study, patient, and EEG characteristics. We pooled study-level estimates of sensitivity and specificity for EEG patterns defined a priori using a random effect bivariate and univariate meta-analysis when appropriate. Funnel plots were used to assess publication bias. Of 5191 abstracts, 333 were reviewed in full text, of which 57 were included in the systematic review and 32 in meta-analyses. No reported EEG pattern was found to be invariably associated with death or disability across all studies. Pooled specificities of status epilepticus, burst suppression, and electrocerebral silence were high (92–99%), but sensitivities were low (6–39%) when predicting a composite outcome of disability and death. Study quality varied depending on domain; patient flow and timing performed was well conducted in all, whereas EEG interpretation was retrospective in 17 of 39 studies. Accounting for variable study quality, EEG demonstrates high specificity with a low risk of false negative outcome attribution for disability and death when status epilepticus, burst suppression, or electrocerebral silence is detected. Increased use of standardized cross-study protocols and definitions of EEG patterns are required to better evaluate the prognostic use of EEG for comatose patients with HIBI following cardiac arrest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-301
Number of pages10
JournalNeurocritical Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Cardiopulmonary arrest
  • Coma
  • Electroencephalography
  • Hypoxic ischemic brain injury
  • Prognosis


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