Objective: To characterize the risk for seizures over time in relation to EEG findings in hospitalized adults undergoing continuous EEG monitoring (cEEG).
Methods: Retrospective analysis of cEEG data and medical records from 625 consecutive adult inpatients monitored at a tertiary medical center. Using survival analysis methods, we estimated the time-dependent probability that a seizure will occur within the next 72-h, if no seizure has occurred yet, as a function of EEG abnormalities detected so far.
Results: Seizures occurred in 27% (168/625). The first seizure occurred early (<30min of monitoring) in 58% (98/168). In 527 patients without early seizures, 159 (30%) had early epileptiform abnormalities, versus 368 (70%) without. Seizures were eventually detected in 25% of patients with early epileptiform discharges, versus 8% without early discharges. The 72-h risk of seizures declined below 5% if no epileptiform abnormalities were present in the first two hours, whereas 16h of monitoring were required when epileptiform discharges were present. 20% (74/388) of patients without early epileptiform abnormalities later developed them; 23% (17/74) of these ultimately had seizures. Only 4% (12/294) experienced a seizure without preceding epileptiform abnormalities.
Conclusions: Seizure risk in acute neurological illness decays rapidly, at a rate dependent on abnormalities detected early during monitoring. This study demonstrates that substantial risk stratification is possible based on early EEG abnormalities.
Significance: These findings have implications for patient-specific determination of the required duration of cEEG monitoring in hospitalized patients.
Keywords: Continuous electroencephalography; ICU EEG monitoring; Nonconvulsive seizures.
Copyright © 2014 International Federation of Clinical Neurophysiology. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.