Rapid handheld continuous electroencephalogram (eeg) has the potential to detect delirium in older adults

Malissa A. Mulkey, Laura T. Gantt, Sonya R. Hardin, Cindy L. Munro, D. Erik Everhart, Sunghan Kim, Alexander M. Schoeman, Donna W. Roberson, Maura McAuliffe, Dai Wai M. Olson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Background: Delirium-related biochemical derangements lead to electrical changes that can be detected in electroencephalographic (EEG) patterns followed by behavioral signs and symptoms. Studies using limited lead EEG show a large difference between patients with and without delirium while discriminating delirium from other causes. Handheld rapid EEG devices may be capable of detecting delirium before symptom onset, thus providing an objective physiological method to detect delirium when it is most amenable to interventions. Objective: The aimof this studywas to explore the potential for rapid EEG to detect waveform pattern changes consistent with delirium status. Methods: This prospective exploratory pilot study used a correlational design and mixed models to explore the relationships between handheld portable EEG data and delirium status. Results: While being under powered minimized opportunities to detect statistical differences in EEGderived ratios using spectral density analysis, sleep-to-wake ratios tended to be higher in patients with delirium. Conclusions: Limited lead EEG may be useful in predicting adverse outcomes and risk for delirium in older critically ill patients. Although this population is at the highest risk for mortality, delirium is not easily identified by current clinical assessments. Therefore, further investigation of limited lead EEG for delirium detection is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-35
Number of pages7
JournalDimensions of Critical Care Nursing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022


  • Acute confusion
  • Delirium
  • EEG
  • Older adult

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency
  • Critical Care


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