Prognostic implications of periodic epileptiform discharges

Arch Neurol. 2009 Aug;66(8):985-91. doi: 10.1001/archneurol.2009.137.


Background: Periodic epileptiform discharges (PEDs) are an abnormal finding on electroencephalograms (EEGs), the significance of which is uncertain.

Objective: To investigate long-term outcome in patients with PEDs.

Design: We retrospectively analyzed the outcomes of patients who had PEDs diagnosed during a 7-year period. We abstracted and tabulated clinical parameters from the time of EEG, imaging findings, EEG measurements, and subsequent clinical outcome from medical records. We used descriptive, inferential, and logistic regression analysis to determine the factors associated with clinical outcomes in patients with PEDs. We divided PEDs into the following subgroups: periodic lateralized epileptiform discharges (PLEDs), generalized PEDs, and bilateral PEDs and analyzed these subgroups individually.

Setting: University-affiliated teaching hospital. Subjects One hundred sixty-two patients with PEDs.

Results: We obtained complete clinical, neuroimaging, neurophysiologic, and long-term outcome data in 118 patients. In the subgroup of patients with PLEDs, absence of seizures at onset (odds ratio, 0.21 per point; 95% confidence interval, 0.04-0.97) and an acute etiology for the PLEDs (odds ratio, 0.14 per point; 95% confidence interval, 0.03-0.72) were associated with death. A nonneoplastic cause for PLEDs was associated with independent functionality (odds ratio, 0.45 per point; 95% confidence interval, 0.3-0.67).

Conclusion: In patients with PLEDs, the absence of clinical seizures at the time of detection and presumed acute etiology are associated with death, whereas a nonneoplastic etiology was associated with a good clinical outcome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain / physiopathology
  • Brain Diseases / diagnosis
  • Brain Diseases / mortality
  • Brain Injuries / diagnosis
  • Brain Injuries / mortality
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Brain Neoplasms / mortality
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Epilepsies, Partial / diagnosis
  • Epilepsies, Partial / etiology
  • Epilepsies, Partial / mortality
  • Epilepsy / diagnosis*
  • Epilepsy / etiology
  • Epilepsy / mortality
  • Epilepsy, Generalized / diagnosis
  • Epilepsy, Generalized / etiology
  • Epilepsy, Generalized / mortality
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Young Adult