Electroencephalography, Hospital Complications, and Longitudinal Outcomes After Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

By India A. Lissak, Joseph J. Locascio, Sahar F. Zafar, Riana L. Schleicher, Aman B. Patel, Thabele Leslie-Mazwi, Christopher J. Stapleton, Matthew J. Koch, Jennifer A. Kim, Kasey Anderson, Jonathan Rosand, M. Brandon Westover, W. Taylor Kimberly & Eric S. Rosenthal
First Online: 22 January 2021

Following non-traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), in-hospital delayed cerebral ischemia is predicted by two chief events on continuous EEG (cEEG): new or worsening epileptiform abnormalities (EAs) and deterioration of cEEG background frequencies. We evaluated the association between longitudinal outcomes and these cEEG biomarkers. We additionally evaluated the association between longitudinal outcomes and other in-hospital complications.

Patients with nontraumatic SAH undergoing ≥ 3 days of cEEG monitoring were enrolled in a prospective study evaluating longitudinal outcomes. Modified Rankin Scale (mRS) was assessed at discharge, and at 3- and 6-month follow-up time points. Adjusting for baseline severity in a cumulative proportional odds model, we modeled the mRS ordinally and measured the association between mRS and two forms of in-hospital cEEG deterioration: (1) cEEG evidence of new or worsening epileptiform abnormalities and (2) cEEG evidence of new background deterioration. We compared the magnitude of these associations at each time point with the association between mRS and other in-hospital complications: (1) delayed cerebral ischemia (DCI), (2) hospital-acquired infections (HAI), and (3) hydrocephalus. In a secondary analysis, we employed a linear mixed effects model to examine the association of mRS over time (dichotomized as 0–3 vs. 4–6) with both biomarkers of cEEG deterioration and with other in-hospital complications.

In total, 175 mRS assessments were performed in 59 patients. New or worsening EAs developed in 23 (39%) patients, and new background deterioration developed in 24 (41%). Among cEEG biomarkers, new or worsening EAs were independently associated with mRS at discharge, 3, and 6 months, respectively (adjusted cumulative proportional odds 4.99, 95% CI 1.60–15.6; 3.28, 95% CI 1.14–9.5; and 2.71, 95% CI 0.95–7.76), but cEEG background deterioration lacked an association. Among hospital complications, DCI was associated with discharge, 3-, and 6-month outcomes (adjusted cumulative proportional odds 4.75, 95% CI 1.64–13.8; 3.4; 95% CI 1.24–9.01; and 2.45, 95% CI 0.94–6.6), but HAI and hydrocephalus lacked an association. The mixed effects model demonstrated that these associations were sustained over longitudinal assessments without an interaction with time.

Although new or worsening EAs and cEEG background deterioration have both been shown to predict DCI, only new or worsening EAs are associated with a sustained impairment in functional outcome. This novel finding raises the potential for identifying therapeutic targets that may also influence outcomes.

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