Continuous EEG Monitoring in a Consecutive Patient Cohort with Sepsis and Delirium

Rikke M. Nielsen, Olalla Urdanibia-Centelles, Esben Vedel-Larsen, Kirsten J. Thomsen, Kirsten Møller, Karsten S. Olsen, Anne Lauritsen, Heidi S. Eddelien, Martin Lauritzen, K. Benedek

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Background: Delirium is common during sepsis, although under-recognized. We aimed to assess the value of continuous electroencephalography (cEEG) to aid in the diagnosis of delirium in septic patients. Methods: We prospectively evaluated 102 consecutive patients in a medical intensive care unit (ICU), who had sepsis or septic shock, without evidence of acute primary central nervous system disease. We initiated cEEG recording immediately after identification. The median cEEG time per patient was 44 h (interquartile range 21–99 h). A total of 6723 h of cEEG recordings were examined. The Confusion Assessment Method for the ICU (CAM-ICU) was administered six times daily to identify delirium. We analyzed the correlation between cEEG and delirium using 1252 two-minute EEG sequences recorded simultaneously with the CAM-ICU scorings. Results: Of the 102 included patients, 66 (65%) had at least one delirium episode during their ICU stay, 30 (29%) remained delirium-free, and 6 (6%) were not assessable due to deep sedation or coma. The absence of delirium was independently associated with preserved high-frequency beta activity (> 13 Hz) (P < 10 −7 ) and cEEG reactivity (P < 0.001). Delirium was associated with preponderance of low-frequency cEEG activity and absence of high-frequency cEEG activity. Sporadic periodic cEEG discharges occurred in 15 patients, 13 of whom were delirious. No patient showed clinical or electrographic evidence of non-convulsive status epilepticus. Conclusions: Our findings indicate that cEEG can help distinguish septic patients with delirium from non-delirious patients.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeurocritical Care
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Brain diseases
  • Critical care
  • Delirium
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy
  • Sepsis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine

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    Nielsen, R. M., Urdanibia-Centelles, O., Vedel-Larsen, E., Thomsen, K. J., Møller, K., Olsen, K. S., Lauritsen, A., Eddelien, H. S., Lauritzen, M., & Benedek, K. (2019). Continuous EEG Monitoring in a Consecutive Patient Cohort with Sepsis and Delirium. Neurocritical Care.