Utility of long-term video-EEG monitoring for children with staring.

TitleUtility of long-term video-EEG monitoring for children with staring.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsPatel AD, Haridas B, Grinspan ZM, Stevens J
JournalEpilepsy Behav
Date Published2017 03
KeywordsAdolescent, Child, Child, Preschool, Electroencephalography, Epilepsy, Female, Hospitalization, Humans, Male, Retrospective Studies

OBJECTIVE: Staring spells are a common reason for referral to overnight epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU) evaluation. However, inpatient EMU admissions are expensive and time consuming. This study determined what percentage of those referred for staring had a confirmed epileptic seizure on long-term video-EEG monitoring (LTM) and developed a scoring system to help prioritize which patients should undergo this procedure.

METHODS: We performed a four-year retrospective chart review of all children at a tertiary pediatric hospital who received LTM (long-term monitoring) for the purposes of characterizing staring. The two goals were to: a) assess how often an LTM admission captured a staring spell that was diagnosed as a seizure and b) determine if any baseline factors predicted this particular positive result. We coded several characteristics of the most recent prior routine EEG if available. We also coded parental reports of the duration, frequency, and breakability of the events as well as post-ictal mental status and the presence/absence of automatisms. Finally, we coded previous neurological and psychiatric diagnoses and medications, as well as family history of epilepsy.

RESULTS: Of the 276 admissions, only 29 (11%) captured a staring spell and diagnosed it as seizure. Several baseline variables predicted the likelihood of this positive result. Based on this information, we created a scoring system as follows: -3 points if the previous EEG was normal, -1 point if the child took a medication for a psychiatric condition, +1 point if the child took an anti-epileptic drug for epilepsy, and +1 point if the spells lasted less than 1min. If the total score was zero or less, staring spells diagnosed as seizures rarely occurred (less than 5% of the studies).

SIGNIFICANCE: Our scoring system shows how consideration of prior EEG findings, medication history, and staring spell duration can help prioritize patients for LTM admission to evaluate if staring spells are epileptic seizures.

Alternate JournalEpilepsy Behav
PubMed ID28214777
Faculty Publication