[Usefulness of electroencephalograms in evaluating transient global amnesia]

Rev Neurol. 2012 Jul 16;55(2):81-6.
[Article in Spanish]


Introduction: Transient global amnesia (TGA) is a perfectly well defined clinical picture, but nevertheless even today its aetiology remains unknown. The three most widely accepted theories suggest it has a vascular origin, it is related with the pathophysiology of migraine or it is of an epileptiform nature.

Aim: To analyse whether there is an electroencephalographic pattern that is consistently repeated in a series of electro-encephalograms (EEG) carried out on patients with TGA.

Patients and methods: The study consists in a retrospective analysis of a sample of 345 patients referred to have an EEG after an episode of TGA.

Results: In almost 20% of the EEGs something that could be considered abnormal was found, although most of these findings (64%) were of little pathological significance. Of the remaining 26%, attention should be drawn to the cases of two patients with subclinical rhythmic electroencephalogram discharges of adults (a pattern with a meaning that is not altogether clear and which has previously been associated with TGA).

Conclusions: A considerable percentage of patients have TGA and EEG alterations, although most of them are of scarce pathological significance or can be attributed to some other underlying condition. We have not succeeded in identifying any pattern that is consistently repeated. Our results suggest that the EEG is a test with low diagnostic effectiveness in this pathology and it is necessary to reconsider the need to systematically perform such tests in suspected cases of TGA.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Amnesia, Transient Global / diagnosis*
  • Amnesia, Transient Global / etiology
  • Amnesia, Transient Global / physiopathology
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / epidemiology
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Delta Rhythm
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Epilepsy / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors