The Use of Continuous EEG Monitoring in Intensive Care Units in The Netherlands: A National Survey

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Background: Currently, continuous electroencephalographic monitoring (cEEG) is the only available diagnostic tool for continuous monitoring of brain function in intensive care unit (ICU) patients. Yet, the exact relevance of routinely applied ICU cEEG remains unclear, and information on the implementation of cEEG, especially in Europe, is scarce. This study explores current practices of cEEG in adult Dutch ICU departments focusing on organizational and operational factors, development over time and factors perceived relevant for abstaining its use.

Methods: A national survey on cEEG in adults among the neurology and adult intensive care departments of all Dutch hospitals (n=82) was performed.

Results: The overall institutional response rate was 78%. ICU cEEG is increasingly used in the Netherlands (in 37% of all hospitals in 2016 versus in 21% in 2008). Currently in 88% of university, 55% of teaching and 14% of general hospitals use ICU cEEG. Reasons for not performing cEEG are diverse, including perceived non-feasibility and lack of data on the effect of cEEG use on patient outcome. Mostly, ICU cEEG is used for non-convulsive seizures or status epilepticus and prognostication. However, cEEG is never or rarely used for monitoring cerebral ischemia and raised intracranial pressure in traumatic brain injury. Review and reporting practices differ considerably between hospitals. Nearly all hospitals perform non-continuous review of cEEG traces. Methods for moving toward continuous review of cEEG traces are available but infrequently used in practice.

Conclusions: cEEG is increasingly used in Dutch ICUs. However, cEEG practices vastly differ between hospitals. Future research should focus on uniform cEEG practices including unambiguous EEG interpretation to facilitate collaborative research on cEEG, aiming to provide improved standard patient care and robust data on the impact of cEEG use on patient outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-202
Number of pages8
JournalNeurocritical Care
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


  • Continuous EEG monitoring
  • Non-convulsive seizures
  • Critical illness
  • Intensive care
  • Neuromonitoring
  • TIME
  • ICU


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