The diagnostic aid of routine EEG findings in patients presenting with a presumed first-ever unprovoked seizure

Miri Y. Neufeld, Vladimir Chistik, Tali H. Vishne, Amos D. Korczyn

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39 Scopus citations


Data are available on the yield of a single EEG recording in patients with epilepsy but there is little information on EEG findings as an aid in supporting the diagnosis of an epileptic event in patients presenting with a first-ever event suspected of being an unprovoked seizure. We retrieved files of patients above the age of 15 years admitted through the emergency room during 1991-1995 with presumed first-ever unprovoked seizure. There were 91 patients (age 50±24; 52 males), of whom 66% had a presumed seizure of unknown origin and 34% had presumed remote symptomatic seizures. About 80% had generalized seizures (primarily or secondarily). In all the patients an EEG had been performed within 48 h of the event. Abnormal EEGs were obtained in 69%, with epileptiform activity in 21% (10% focal, 9% generalized and 2% focal and generalized), slowing in 58% (21% focal, 31% generalized and 7% focal and generalized), and both epileptiform activity and slowing in 10%. Epileptiform activity was most common in younger patients with seizures of unknown origin, compared with older individuals with symptomatic seizures (34, 38 vs. 27%, 7%, P = 0.001). We conclude that following a single unprovoked presumed seizure, adults commonly exhibit abnormalities in an EEG recorded close in time to the event. The EEG is particularly helpful in supporting the epileptic nature of the event in younger patients and in those with seizures of unknown origin. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-202
Number of pages6
JournalEpilepsy Research
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - Dec 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Diagnosis
  • EEG
  • Epilepsy
  • First unprovoked seizure


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