Electroencephalographic findings in consecutive emergency department patients with altered mental status: a preliminary report.
ABSTRACT Electroencephalography (EEG) can help narrow the differential diagnosis of altered mental status (AMS) and is necessary to diagnose nonconvulsive seizure (NCS). The objective of this prospective observational study is to identify the prevalence of EEG abnormalities in emergency department patients with AMS. Patients of at least 13 years of age with AMS were enrolled, whereas those with an easily identifiable cause (e.g. hypoglycemia) underlying their AMS were excluded. Easily identifiable cause of AMS (e.g. hypoglycemia). A 30-min EEG with the standard 19 electrodes was performed on each patient. Descriptive statistics (%, 95% confidence interval) are used to report EEG findings of the first 50 enrolled patients. Thirty-five EEGs (70%, 57-81%) were abnormal. The most common abnormality was slowing of background activities (46%, 33-60%), reflecting an underlying encephalopathy. NCS was diagnosed in three (6%, 1-17%), including one patient in nonconvulsive status epilepticus. Nine patients (18%, 10-31%) had interictal epileptiform abnormalities, indicating an increased risk of spontaneous seizure. Patients presenting to the emergency department with AMS have a high prevalence of EEG abnormalities, including NCS.
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ABSTRACT: Because coma has many causes, physicians must develop a structured, algorithmic approach to diagnose and treat reversible causes rapidly. The three main mechanisms of coma are structural brain lesions, diffuse neuronal dysfunction, and, rarely, psychiatric causes. The first priority is to stabilise the patient by treatment of life-threatening conditions, then to use the history, physical examination, and laboratory findings to identify structural causes and diagnose treatable disorders. Some patients have a clear diagnosis. In those who do not, the first decision is whether brain imaging is needed. Imaging should be done in post-traumatic coma or when structural brain lesions are probable or possible causes. Patients who do not undergo imaging should be reassessed regularly. If CT is non-diagnostic, a checklist should be used use to indicate whether advanced imaging is needed or evidence is present of a treatable poisoning or infection, seizures including non-convulsive status epilepticus, endocrinopathy, or thiamine deficiency.The Lancet 04/2014; · 39.21 Impact Factor