Purpose: To assess the diagnostic yield of a repeated EEG (REPEEG) after partial sleep deprivation (SD) in children and adolescents with one or more seizures who previously had had a standard EEG (STDEEG) without epileptiform abnormalities (EAs). In the literature, 32-75% of such REPEEGs after SD were reported to show EA.
Methods: In a prospective, multicentred study, we selected children aged 1 month to 16 years with one or more idiopathic or remote symptomatic newly diagnosed seizures. A REPEEG was recorded in children without EAs in their STDEEG.
Results: Of 552 children and adolescents who entered the study, 243 (44%) had a STDEEG without EAs. In 177 (73% of eligible children), REPEEGs were recorded after SD. We found EAs in 61 (34.5%) REPEEGs and new nonepileptiform abnormalities in five (1%). In 552 children in the total cohort, the REPEEG thus added 11% with EAs to the 56% with EAs in the STDEEG. Of REPEEGs, 81% included sleep compared with 20% of STDEEGs. In about half the REPEEGs, EAs occurred during sleep only. One child had tonic-clonic seizures probably related to the SD.
Conclusions: One third of REPEEGs yielded new diagnostic information. Partial, age-dependent SD was highly effective in inducing sleep, which is important because in many cases EAs were found only during EEG recording in sleep. The procedure was safe and convenient.