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EEG for the assessment of neurological function in newborn infants immediately after birth
  1. Daragh Finn1,
  2. John M O’Toole1,2,
  3. Eugene M Dempsey1,2,
  4. Geraldine B Boylan1,2
  1. 1 Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
  2. 2 Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research (INFANT), University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Professor Geraldine B Boylan, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, University College Cork, Cork T12 K8AF, Ireland; g.boylan{at}


Objective To assess the neurological function of newborn infants in the first minutes after birth using EEG.

Design and patients We obtained electroencephalography (EEG) recordings in term infants following elective caesarean section. After delivery, disposable EEG electrodes were attached to the infants’ scalp over the frontal and central regions bilaterally and EEG was recorded for 10 min. Both visual and quantitative measures were used to analyse the EEGs.

Setting The operative delivery theatre of Cork University Maternity Hospital, Ireland.

Results Forty-nine infants had EEG recordings over the frontal and central regions. The median (IQR) age at time of initial EEG recording was 3.0 (2.5–3.8) min. While movement artefact contaminated parts of many recordings, good-quality EEG, with mixed-frequency activity with a range of 25–50 μV, was observed in all infants. The majority of EEG spectral power was within the delta band: the median (IQR) relative delta power was 87.8% (83.7%–90%). Almost all (95%) spectral power was below a median (IQR) of 7.56 Hz (6.17–9.76 Hz).

Conclusions EEG recording is very feasible in the immediate newborn period. This study provides valuable objective information about neurological function during this transitional period.

  • neo
  • neurology
  • eeg
  • newborn

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  • Contributors GBB, EMD and DF conceived and designed the study. DF performed all data collection. JMO’T performed the quantitative analysis of data. GBB performed the visual analysis of data. DF and JMO’T drafted the initial manuscript. All authors interpreted the data, edited the manuscript for intellectual content and approved the final version. All authors agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

  • Funding This article was supported by two awards from Science Foundation Ireland: a Research Centre Award (INFANT-12/RC/2272) and an Investigator Award to JMO’T (15/SIRG/3580).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Parental/guardian consent obtained.

  • Ethics approval Ethical approval was obtained within each participating country according to their national guidelines.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement EEG in its raw format for all infants in this trial is saved on a secure server in University College Cork. In this article we publish all of the findings resulting from the qualitative and quantitative analyses of data.