The Correlation between Electroencephalography Amplitude and Interictal Abnormalities : Audit study

Sami F. Al-Rawas, Rajesh P. Poothrikovil, Khidir M. Abdelbasit, Robert S. Delamont

Abstract


Objectives: The aim of this study was to establish the relationship between background amplitude and interictal abnormalities in routine electroencephalography (EEG). Methods: This retrospective audit was conducted between July 2006 and December 2009 at the Department of Clinical Physiology at Sultan Qaboos University Hospital (SQUH) in Muscat, Oman. A total of 1,718 electroencephalograms (EEGs) were reviewed. All EEGs were from patients who had been referred due to epilepsy, syncope or headaches. EEGs were divided into four groups based on their amplitude: group one ≤20 μV; group two 21–35 μV; group three 36–50 μV, and group four >50 μV. Interictal abnormalities were defined as epileptiform discharges with or without associated slow waves. Abnormalities were identified during periods of resting, hyperventilation and photic stimulation in each group. Results: The mean age ± standard deviation of the patients was 27 ± 12.5 years. Of the 1,718 EEGs, 542 (31.5%) were abnormal. Interictal abnormalities increased with amplitude in all four categories and demonstrated a significant association (P <0.05). A total of 56 EEGs (3.3%) had amplitudes that were ≤20 μV and none of these showed interictal epileptiform abnormalities. Conclusion: EEG amplitude is an important factor in determining the presence of interictal epileptiform abnormalities in routine EEGs. This should be taken into account when investigating patients for epilepsy. A strong argument is made for considering long-term EEG monitoring in order to identify unexplained seizures which may be secondary to epilepsy. It is recommended that all tertiary institutions provide EEG telemetry services.



Keywords


Electroencephalography, abnormalities; Epilepsy.

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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