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Ambulatory EEG Monitoring

Gilliam, Frank; Kuzniecky, Ruben; Faught, Edward

Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology: March 1999 - Volume 16 - Issue 2 - p 111-115
Review Articles

Advances in computer technology offer increased capabilities for ambulatory EEG monitoring. The technical specifications of currently available ambulatory EEG machines reasonably approximate inpatient EEG equipment. However, the evolution of ambulatory EEG from 3-channel analog casette recordings to reformatable 32-channel digital devices with computer-assisted spike and seizure detection raises several unresolved issues. Should patients with nondiagnostic routine EEG receive ambulatory EEG? Is ambulatory EEG as accurate for patients with unclear clinical diagnoses as inpatient video-EEG monitoring? If the diagnostic yield of ambulatory EEG is less than inpatient monitoring, do outpatient savings still make the technique cost-effective? This article reviews the development of ambulatory EEG and the investigations of its clinical utility. An evidence-based analysis explores the benefits and limitations of ambulatory EEG, and offers aspects of its use which require additional clinical research.

UAB Epilepsy Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.A.

Supported by National Institutes of Health grant NS01794-01.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Frank Gilliam, M.D., UAB Epilepsy Center, 1719 6th Ave South, Suite 312, Birmingham, AL. 35294, U.S.A.

Copyright © 1999 American Clinical Neurophysiology Society