Neurological Prognostication After Hypoglycemic Coma: Role of Clinical and EEG Findings

for the CCEMRC

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4 Scopus citations


Background: Hypoglycemic coma (HC) is an uncommon but severe clinical condition associated with poor neurological outcome. There is a dearth of robust neurological prognostic factors after HC. On the other hand, there is an increasing body of literature on reliable prognostic markers in the postanoxic coma, a similar—albeit not identical—situation. The objective of this study was thus to investigate the use and predictive value of these markers in HC. Methods: We conducted a retrospective, multicenter, cohort study within five centers of the Critical Care EEG Monitoring Research Consortium. We queried our electroencephalography (EEG) databases to identify all patients undergoing continuous EEG monitoring after admission to an intensive care unit with HC (defined as Glasgow Coma Scale < 8 on admission and a first blood glucose level < 50 mg/dL or not documented but in an obvious clinical context) between 01/01/2010 and 12/31/2020. We studied the association of findings at neurological examination (Glasgow Coma Scale motor subscale, pupillary light and corneal reflexes) and at continuous EEG monitoring(highly malignant patterns, reactivity, periodic discharges, seizures) with best neurological outcome within 3 months after hospital discharge, defined by the Cerebral Performance Category as favorable (1–3: recovery of consciousness) versus unfavorable (4–5: lack of recovery of consciousness). Results: We identified 60 patients (30 [50%] women; age 62 [51–72] years). Thirty-one and 29 patients had a favorable and unfavorable outcome, respectively. The presence of pupillary reflexes (24 [100%] vs. 17 [81%]; p value 0.04) and a motor subscore > 2 (22 [92%] vs. 12 [63%]; p value 0.03) at 48–72 h were associated with a favorable outcome. A highly malignant EEG pattern was observed in 7 of 29 (24%) patients with unfavorable outcome versus 0 of 31 (0%) with favorable outcome, whereas the presence of EEG reactivity was observed in 28 of 31 (90%) patients with favorable outcome versus 13 of 29 (45%) with unfavorable outcome (p < 0.001 for comparison of all background categories). Conclusions: This preliminary study suggests that highly malignant EEG patterns might be reliable prognostic markers of unfavorable outcome after HC. Other EEG findings, including lack of EEG reactivity and seizures and clinical findings appear less accurate. These findings should be replicated in a larger multicenter prospective study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-280
Number of pages8
JournalNeurocritical Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology


  • Diabetic coma
  • Electroencephalography
  • Neurologic examination
  • Patient outcome assessment


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