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Electroencephalography underused investigative tool in hospitals
Date:4/1/2013

Rochester, MN, April 1, 2013 A retrospective study of patients who had in-hospital electroencephalography (EEG) has established that EEG is a valuable tool that could be deployed more widely to identify treatable causes of impaired consciousness in the hospital setting. The study is published in the April issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Altered mental status (AMS) and paroxysmal spells of uncertain origin are common among hospitalized patients. Impaired consciousness can sometimes be linked to metabolic or cardiac causes, but some of these spells may represent seizures or non-convulsive epilepsy, which can be detected only by electroencephalography (EEG). Although EEG is the key test in making these diagnoses, it is relatively underused in the inpatient setting owing to lack of availability and neurologic consultation at many hospitals in the United States.

In a unique analysis of non-intubated patients in a general hospital setting investigators from the Department of Neurology, University of California at San Francisco, studied hospital patients 18 years and older who had inpatient EEG for an indication of spells or altered mental status during a six-year period from January 2005. Their aim was to determine the frequency of seizures and markers of epilepsy-like activity detected by EEG.

The EEGs and reports were reviewed for ictal activity (electrographic seizures), interictal epileptiform abnormalities (abnormal EEG activity not associated with a clinical seizure), and nonepileptiform abnormalities (not specific to a particular cause).

Demographic and clinical data were gathered from electronic medical records to determine seizure predictors. Of the 1048 patients reviewed, nearly 80% had an abnormal EEG finding, with the most common abnormality being diffuse slowing, seen in 706 patients (67.4%). Seizures (ranging from a single seizure to status epilepticus) were noted in 78 patients (7.4%). Markers of seiz
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Contact: Rachael Zaleski
mcpmedia@elsevier.com
215-239-3658
Elsevier Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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