Are neurophysiologic tests reliable, ultra-early prognostic indices after cardiac arrest?

Riccardo Carrai, Maddalena Spalletti, Maenia Scarpino, Francesco Lolli, Giovanni Lanzo, Cesarina Cossu, Manuela Bonizzoli, Filippo Socci, Chiara Lazzeri, Aldo Amantini, Antonello Grippo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Determining early and reliable prognosis in comatose subjects after cardiac arrest is a central component of post–cardiac arrest care both for developing realistic prognostic expectations for families, and for better determining which resources are mobilized or withheld for individual patients. The aim of the study was to evaluate the prognostic accuracy of EEG and SEP patterns during the very early period (within the first 6 h) after cardiac arrest. Methods: We retrospectively analysed comatose patients after CA, either inside or outside the hospital, in which prognostic evaluation was made during the first 6 h from CA. Prognostic evaluation comprised clinical evaluation (GCS and pupillary light reflex) and neurophysiological (electroencephalography (EEG) and somatosensory evoked potentials (SEP)) studies. Prognosis was evaluated with regards to likelihood of recovery of consciousness and also likelihood of failure to regain consciousness. Results: Forty-one comatose patients after cardiac arrest were included. All patients with continuous and nearly continuous EEG recovered consciousness. Isoelectric EEG was always associated with poor outcome. Burst-suppression, suppression and discontinuous patterns were usually associated with poor outcome although some consciousness recovery was observed. Bilaterally absent SEP responses were always associated with poor outcome. Continuous and nearly continuous EEG patterns were never associated with bilaterally absent SEP. Conclusions: During the very early period following cardiac arrest (first 6 h), EEG and SEP maintain their high predictive value to predict respectively recovery and failure of recovery of consciousness. A very early EEG exam allows identification of patients with very high probability of a good outcome, allowing rapid use of the most appropriate therapeutic procedures.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeurophysiologie Clinique
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Cardiac arrest
  • EEG
  • Neurological prognosis
  • Neurophysiology
  • Post-Anoxic coma
  • SEP
  • Ultra-Early prognosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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