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Clin Neurophysiol. 2018 Nov;129(11):2219-2227. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2018.08.015. Epub 2018 Sep 1.

Effect of epileptiform abnormality burden on neurologic outcome and antiepileptic drug management after subarachnoid hemorrhage.

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Massachusetts General Hospital, Department of Neurology, Boston, MA, USA. Electronic address:
Massachusetts General Hospital, Department of Neurology, Boston, MA, USA.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Department of Neurology, Boston, MA, USA.



To quantify the burden of epileptiform abnormalities (EAs) including seizures, periodic and rhythmic activity, and sporadic discharges in patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH), and assess the effect of EA burden and treatment on outcomes.


Retrospective analysis of 136 high-grade aSAH patients. EAs were defined using the American Clinical Neurophysiology Society nomenclature. Burden was defined as prevalence of <1%, 1-9%, 10-49%, 50-89%, and >90% for each 18-24 hour epoch. Our outcome measure was 3-month Glasgow Outcome Score.


47.8% patients had EAs. After adjusting for clinical covariates EA burden on first day of recording and maximum daily burden were associated with worse outcomes. Patients with higher EA burden were more likely to be treated with anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) beyond the standard prophylactic protocol. There was no difference in outcomes between patients continued on AEDs beyond standard prophylaxis compared to those who were not.


Higher burden of EAs in aSAH independently predicts worse outcome. Although nearly half of these patients received treatment, our data suggest current AED management practices may not influence outcome.


EA burden predicts worse outcomes and may serve as a target for prospective interventional controlled studies to directly assess the impact of AEDs, and create evidence-based treatment protocols.


Continuous EEG; Epileptiform abnormalities; Neurologic outcomes; Periodic discharges; Subarachnoid hemorrhage

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