It is the purpose of this review to critically consider and organize the literature dealing with the ephemeral electroencephalographic (EEG) pattern periodic lateralized epileptiform discharges (PLEDs). Although the retrospective nature of these studies limits their ability to discuss accurately the clinical and pathophysiological aspects of this EEG entity, the available data strongly emphasize stroke as the dominant etiology and its high association with seizures. Recent evidence, particularly from functional neuroimaging studies, strongly suggests that PLEDs might reflect a key pattern for focal hyperexcitability in the penumbra zone of ischemic stroke. The authors prefer to consider PLEDs as an EEG signature of a dynamic pathophysiological state in which unstable neurobiological processes create an ictal-interictal continuum, with the nature of the underlying neuronal injury, the patient's preexisting propensity to have seizures, and the co-existence of any acute metabolic derangements all contributing to whether seizures occur or not. This review underlines the need for further sophisticated prospective controlled studies implementing early continuous EEG monitoring in order to contribute to an understanding of the incidence, dynamics, and relevance of this pattern.