The EEG and prognosis in status epilepticus

Epilepsia. 1999 Feb;40(2):157-63. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1157.1999.tb02069.x.


Purpose: To examine the relation between specific EEG features and clinical outcome, determine whether a predictable sequence of EEG patterns exists during status epilepticus (SE), and examine the relation between periodic epileptiform discharges (PEDs) and SE.

Methods: EEG records of 50 patients with SE admitted to Graduate Hospital between January 1990 and July 1995 were reviewed. Ictal EEGs were available in 72%; 28% had only postictal EEGs. Poor outcome was defined as death or persistent vegetative state, and good outcome as all others. Fisher's Exact test, chi2, and t tests were performed for data analysis.

Results: Of 50 patients, 72% had a good outcome and 28%, a poor outcome. If PEDs were present at any time during or after SE, outcome tended to be worse (p = 0.053). With PEDs, eight (44%) of 18 had a poor outcome; without PEDs, six (19%) of 32 had a poor outcome. Etiologies for SE did not substantially differ in patients with or without PEDs, and structural abnormalities were not more associated with the presence of PEDs. PEDs were seen both early and late, during and after SE. Other EEG characteristics (lateralized vs. bilateral symmetric ictal EEG, discrete vs. continuous ictal activity, and postictal focal slowing) did not relate to outcome. No predictable sequence of EEG changes was found during SE.

Conclusions: PEDs are the only EEG feature related to outcome in SE and are associated with poor outcome independent of etiology.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiopathology
  • Electroencephalography / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Status Epilepticus / diagnosis*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed