Neurocritical Care

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 367–373 | Cite as

Frequency of Non-convulsive Seizures and Non-convulsive Status Epilepticus in Subarachnoid Hemorrhage Patients in Need of Controlled Ventilation and Sedation

  • Cecilia Lindgren
  • Erik Nordh
  • Silvana Naredi
  • Magnus Olivecrona
Original Article



Non-convulsive seizures (NCSZ) can be more prevalent than previously recognized among comatose neuro-intensive care patients. The aim of this study was to evaluate the frequency of NCSZ and non-convulsive status epilepticus (NCSE) in sedated and ventilated subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) patients.


Retrospective study at a university hospital neuro-intensive care unit, from January 2008 until June 2010. Patients were treated according to a local protocol, and were initially sedated with midazolam or propofol or combinations of these sedative agents. Thiopental was added for treatment of intracranial hypertension. No wake-up tests were performed. Using NicoletOne® equipment (VIASYS Healthcare Inc., USA), continuous EEG recordings based on four electrodes and a reference electrode was inspected at full length both in a two electrode bipolar and a four-channel referential montage.


Approximately 5,500 h of continuous EEG were registered in 28 SAH patients (33 % of the patients eligible for inclusion). The median Glasgow Coma scale was 8 (range 3–14) and the median Hunt and Hess score was 4 (range 1–4). During EEG registration, no clinical seizures were observed. In none of the patients inter ictal epileptiform activity was seen. EEG seizures were recorded only in 2/28 (7 %) patients. One of the patients experienced 4 min of an NCSZ and one had a 5 h episode of an NCSE.


Continuous EEG monitoring is important in detecting NCSZ in sedated patients. Continuous sedation, without wake-up tests, was associated with a low frequency of subclinical seizures in SAH patients in need of controlled ventilation.


Epilepsy Seizures Non-convulsive seizures Continuous electroencephalogram Subarachnoid hemorrhage 



The kind cooperation and assistance of staff at the ICU, Umeå University Hospital and at the Department of Neurophysiology in performing this study is gratefully acknowledged. This study was supported by grants from The Swedish Society of Medicine, and from the Faculty of Medicine at Umeå University. A visiting professorship at the Rehabilitation Research Chair, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to author E.N. is gratefully acknowledged.

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflict of interest concerning the materials or methods used in this study or the findings specified in this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cecilia Lindgren
    • 1
  • Erik Nordh
    • 2
  • Silvana Naredi
    • 1
  • Magnus Olivecrona
    • 3
  1. 1.Division of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care, Department of Surgical and Perioperative SciencesUniversity of UmeåUmeåSweden
  2. 2.Division of Clinical Neurophysiology, Department of Pharmacology and Clinical NeurosciencesUniversity of UmeåUmeåSweden
  3. 3.Division of Neurosurgery, Department of Pharmacology and Clinical NeurosciencesUniversity of UmeåUmeåSweden

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