EEG Spectral Power: A Proposed Physiological Biomarker to Classify the Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy Severity in Real Time

Srinivas Kota, Kaushik Jasti, Yulun Liu, Hanli Liu, Rong Zhang, Lina Chalak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Mild hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) constitutes a large unstudied population with considerable debate on how to define and treat due to the dynamic evolution of the clinical signs of encephalopathy. We propose to address this gap with quantitative physiological biomarkers to aid in stratification of the disease severity. The objectives of this prospective cohort study were to measure the electroencephalographic (EEG) power as an objective biomarker of the evolution of the clinical encephalopathy in newborns with mild to severe HIE. Methods: EEG was collected in infants with HIE using four bipolar electrodes analyzed for the first three hours of the recording. Delta power (DP, 0.5 to 4 Hz) and total power (TP, 0.5 to 20 Hz) were compared between groups with different HIE severity using a univariate ordinal logistic regression model and receiver operating characteristic curves. Results: A total of 44 term-born infants with mild to severe HIE were identified within six hours of birth. The DP and TP values were significantly higher for the mild group than for the moderate group for all bipolar electrodes. A one-unit increase in DP was associated with significantly lower odds of encephalopathy. DP best distinguished mild from higher encephalopathy grades by area under the curve. Conclusions: We conclude that DP and TP are sensitive real-time biomarkers for monitoring the dynamic evolution of the encephalopathy severity in the first day of life. The quantitative EEG power may lead to timely recognition of the worsening of the encephalopathy and guide future therapeutic interventions targeting mild HIE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-14
Number of pages8
JournalPediatric Neurology
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • EEG
  • Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy
  • Physiologic biomarker
  • Spectral power

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology


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