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EEG Protocol Results Found Similar in Epilepsy Diagnosis

Last Updated: July 26, 2010.

For diagnosing epilepsy in children with new-onset seizures, early electroencephalography or later sleep-deprived electroencephalography provide similar results and diagnostic utility, according to a study published online July 12 in the Archives of Neurology.

MONDAY, July 26 (HealthDay News) -- For diagnosing epilepsy in children with new-onset seizures, early electroencephalography (EEG) or later sleep-deprived EEG (SD-EEG) provide similar results and diagnostic utility, according to a study published online July 12 in the Archives of Neurology.

Lynette G. Sadleir, M.D., of the University of Otago in New Zealand, and Ingrid E. Scheffer, Ph.D., of the University of Melbourne in Heidelberg, Australia, evaluated 92 children (aged 2 to 16) presenting with new-onset seizures using both early EEG study (within 24 hours after a seizure) and SD-EEG study (48 hours to four weeks after a seizure). Epilepsy diagnoses were made independently by two pediatric specialists in epilepsy, and the rate of epileptiform abnormalities and slowing in the two EEG studies were observed. Diagnoses of epilepsy syndrome were compared.

The researchers found that epileptiform discharges occurred in 56 of the children (61 percent) as measured by SD-EEGs and 52 children (57 percent) as measured by early EEGs (P = .27), while background slowing was observed in 26 children (28 percent) by SD-EEGs and 42 children (46 percent) by early EEGs (P < .001). Parents predominantly preferred early EEG (71 percent) over SD-EEG (15 percent) because results and epilepsy diagnoses were available sooner. Forty-six percent of the children were diagnosed with a particular electroclinical syndrome.

"In some centers, however, scheduling an EEG within 24 hours of a seizure may not be practical owing to EEG technician availability. For these departments, a scheduled SD-EEG within the next four weeks may permit better use of their resources. Our findings suggest that both approaches provide similar results, so choice should be guided by service and economic preference," the authors write.

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