Amplitude-Integrated EEG and Brain Sparing in Preterm Small-for-Gestational-Age Infants

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Preterm small-for-gestational-age (SGA) infants are at risk for a high mortality rate and impaired cognitive development. Only a few studies have focused on amplitude-integrated EEG (aEEG) in preterm SGA infants. They have been shown to have a slower rate of brain maturation, but these findings have not consistently been related to neurodevelopmental outcomes. The aim of our study was to evaluate early aEEG monitoring in SGA compared with adequate-for-gestational-age preterms.


This prospective cohort study enrolled infants with very low birth weight who were admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit at Hospital Puerta del Mar, Cádiz, Spain, from June 2009 to September 2012. This study was a subanalysis of SGA from the global cohort previously described by our group. Adverse outcome included severe intraventricular hemorrhage and/or death. Cerebral function was monitored using aEEG recordings during the first 72 hours of life.


Preterm SGA infants (18 SGA in the global cohort of 92 patients) had lower 1- and 5-minute Apgar scores, higher score for neonatal acute physiology perinatal extension II scores, and higher proportion of adverse outcomes. When comparing preterm adequate-for-gestational-age infants with SGA infants with good prognosis, those with SGA had more mature and continuous aEEG patterns. Low margin amplitude depression was not as severe in these patients, and a higher proportion of these patients developed sleep–wake cycles.


The results of our study suggest that SGA infants with a good prognosis have a more mature aEEG pattern than preterm adequate-for-gestational-age patients with the same outcome. These findings support the brain sparing theory in SGA infants.

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