Postictal generalized EEG suppression: an inconsistent finding in people with multiple seizures

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Lamberts RJ, Gaitatzis A, Sander JW, et al. (2013) Postictal generalized EEG suppression: an inconsistent finding in people with multiple seizures. Neurology. 2013 Oct 1;81(14):1252-6.

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Abstract: OBJECTIVE: To determine the consistency and facilitating cofactors of postictal generalized EEG suppression (PGES) of >20 seconds after convulsive seizures (CS), a suggested predictor of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy risk. METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed video-EEG data of people with ≥2 recorded CS. Presence and duration of PGES were assessed by 2 independent observers blinded to patient status. Intraindividual consistency of PGES >20 seconds was determined and correlations with clinical characteristics were analyzed after correction for individual effects and the varying number of seizures. RESULTS: One hundred fifty-four seizures in 59 people were analyzed. PGES >20 seconds was found in 37 individuals (63%) and 57 (37%) of CS. The proportion of persons in whom PGES occurred consistently (presence or absence of PGES >20 seconds in all CS) was lower in those with more CS. PGES of >20 seconds was more frequent in seizures arising from sleep (odds ratio 3.29, 95% confidence interval 1.21-8.96) and when antiepileptic medication was tapered (odds ratio 4.80, 95% confidence interval 1.27-18.14). CONCLUSION: Apparent PGES consistency was less frequent in people with more CS recorded, suggesting that PGES is an inconsistent finding in any one individual. Thus, we believe that PGES >20 seconds is not a reliable predictor of sudden unexpected death in epilepsy. Sleep and antiepileptic drug reduction appear to facilitate the occurrence of PGES.

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