Electroencephalography During Normotensive and Hypertensive Pregnancy: A Systematic Review

Ingrid Brussé, Nina Peters, Eric Steegers, J.J. Duvekot, GH Visser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The objective of this review was to evaluate the available medical literature concerning the electroencephalogram (EEG) during hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. All articles found during a MEDLINE and Embase database search on the subject of EEG differences associated with hypertensive disorders in pregnancy were screened for eligibility. In all, 22 articles which describe the EEG during preeclampsia (PE)/eclampsia were retrieved. Abnormal EEG findings were observed in the majority of the preeclamptic/eclamptic patients, consisting of slow waves most frequently localized in the occipital lobe, as well as spike discharges. The EEG abnormalities in PE/eclampsia were reversible in the majority of the cases. We conclude that these described abnormalities may be interpreted as a warning sign of deterioration of brain function in PE/eclampsia. However, some caution regarding this conclusion is advised because most of the retrieved articles were published in the 1950s and 1960s, and were not consistent with current clinical guidelines or medical terminology. Further research is needed to establish the clinical value of implementing EEGs in the assessment of the preeclamptic/eclamptic patient. Target Audience: Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Neurologists, Family Physicians Learning Objectives: After completion of this educational activity, the obstetrician, gynecologist and neurologist should be better able to evaluate whether the EEG is normal for pregnancy; distinguish EEG abnormalities in hypertensive disorders in pregnancy, and assess the value of EEG abnormalities in preeclampsia (PE)/eclampsia for the detection of early signs of ischemia.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)794-803
Number of pages10
JournalObstetrical and Gynecological Survey
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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