Ambulatory EEG monitoring in the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy and related disorders
Ambulatory EEG recording enables patients with epilepsy and related disorders to be monitored in an unrestricted environment for prolonged periods. Attacks can therefore be recorded and EEG changes at the time can aid diagnosis. The relevant Iiterature is reviewed and a study made of' 250 clinical investigations. A study was also made of the artefacts,encountered during ambulatory recording. Three quarters of referrals were for distinguishing between epileptic and non-epileptic attacks. Over 60% of patients showed no abnormality during attacks. In comparison with the basic EEG the ambulatory EEG provided about ten times as much information. A preliminary follow-up study showed that results, of ambulatory monitoring agreed with the final diagnosis in 8 of 12 patients studied. Of 10 patients referred, for monitoring the occurrence of absence seizures, 8 showed abnormality during the baslcJ EEG .and 10 during the ambulatory EEG. Other patients. were referred: for sleep recording and to clarify the seizure type. An investigation into once daily (OD) versus twice daily administration of sodium valproate in patients with absence seizures showed that an OD regime was equally as effective as a BD regime. Circadian variations in spike and wave activity in patients on and off treatment were also examined. There was significant agreement between subjects on the time of occurrence of abnormality during sleep only, This pattern was not ,affected with treatment nor was there any difference in the daily pattern of occurrence of abnormality between the two regimes. Overall findings suggested that ambulatory monitoring was a valuable tool in the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy which with careful planning and patient selection could be used in any EEG department and would benefit a:wide range of patients.