Assessment of hairline EEG as a screening tool for nonconvulsive status epilepticus.
PURPOSE: Because of the high incidence of nonconvulsive status epilepticus (NCSE), the attraction of a "quick and easy" screening electroencephalogram (EEG) is obvious. Previous studies have shown utility of hairline EEG in diagnosing epilepsy. However, this technique has not been evaluated as a screening tool for NCSE. We wanted to provide proof of principle that a screening hairline EEG has sufficient sensitivity to use as a screening tool for diagnosing NCSE. METHODS: A total of 120, 2- to 3-min EEG samples of normal and various abnormal digital EEG studies were reformatted in three six-channel montages (A, longitudinal bipolar; B, referential to ipsilateral ear; C, referential to contralateral ear) that mimicked a hairline recording and were interpreted by five neurophysiologists. The test data interpretation was compared with the original EEG interpretation. RESULTS: Performance was best with montages A and B; 71% and 70.5% of the samples were interpreted correctly by using these montages. Only 65% of the samples were correctly interpreted by using montage C. With the best montage (A), the sensitivities ranged from 91% for normal EEG to 54% for periodic lateralized epileptiform discharges (PLEDs). The sensitivity for seizures was only 72%. Seizures were frequently misinterpreted as more benign patterns such as normal and diffuse slowing. CONCLUSIONS: EEG data reformatted to resemble a hairline EEG had low sensitivity for detecting seizures. As a result, we do not recommend further pursuit of hairline EEG as a "quick and easy" screening tool for NCSE.
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