Electroencephalographic assessment of coma.
SUMMARY: Altered mental status ranging from confusion to deep unresponsiveness can be described as coma. Electroencephalography is an important tool in assessing comatose patients. Some EEG patterns are seen with lighter stages of coma and have a good prognosis, whereas others are seen in deep, often irreversible coma. These EEG patterns carry a much more grave prognosis. This paper discusses the various EEG features seen in coma, ranging from intermittent rhythmic delta activity to electrocerebral inactivity. A discussion regarding etiology and prognosis is presented after the EEG pattern is described in detail. Special EEG features, such as alpha coma, beta coma, spindle coma, etc., are discussed toward the end.
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