Sleep/wake modulation of polysomnographic patterns has prognostic value in pediatric unresponsive wakefulness syndrome

Erika Molteni, Paolo Avantaggiato, Francesca Formica, Valentina Pastore, Katia Colombo, Sara Galbiati, Filippo Arrigoni, Sandra Strazzer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Study Objective: Sleep patterns of pediatric patients in unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (UWS) have been poorly investigated, and the prognostic potential of polysomnography (PSG) in these subjects is still uncertain. The goal of the study was to identify quantitative PSG indices to be applied as possible prognostic markers in pediatric UWS. Methods: We performed PSG in 27 children and adolescents with UWS due to acquired brain damage in the subacute phase. Patients underwent neurological examination and clinical assessment with standardized scales. Outcome was assessed after 36 mo. PSG tracks were scored for sleep stages and digitally filtered. The spectral difference between sleep and wake was computed, as the percent difference at specific spectral frequencies. We computed (1) the ratio between percent power in the delta and alpha frequency bands, (2) the ratio between alpha and theta frequency bands, and (3) the power ratio index, during wake and sleep, as proposed in previous literature. The predictive role of several clinical and PSG measures was tested by logistic regression. Results: Correlation was found between the differential measures of electroencephalographic activity during sleep and wake in several frequency bands and the clinical scales (Glasgow Outcome Score, Level of Cognitive Functioning Assessment Scale, and Disability Rating Scale) at follow-up; the Sleep Patterns for Pediatric Unresponsive Wakefulness Syndrome (SPPUWS) scores correlated with the differential measures, and allowed outcome prediction with 96.3% of accuracy. Conclusions: The differential measure of electroencephalographic activity during sleep and wake in the beta band and, more incisively, SPPUWS can help in determining the capability to recover from pediatric UWS well before the confirmation provided by suitable clinical scales.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1131-1141
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Sleep Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Brain injury prognosis
  • Electroencephalographic frequency analysis
  • Pediatric brain injury
  • Polysomnography
  • Unresponsive wakefulness syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Neurology


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