To perform a feasibility pilot study comparing the usefulness of EEG electrode cap versus standard scalp EEG for acquiring emergent EEGs in emergency department, inpatient, and intensive care unit patients.
Nonconvulsive status epilepticus (NCSE) is a neurological emergency diagnosed exclusively by EEG. Nonconvulsive status epilepticus becomes more resistant to treatment 1 hour after continued seizure activity. EEG technologists are alerted “stat” when there is immediate need for an EEG during oncall hours, yet delays are inevitable. Alternatively, EEG caps can be quickly placed by in-house residents at bedside for assessment.
EEG caps were compared with standard-of-care “stat” EEGs for 20 patients with suspected NCSE. After the order for a stat EEG was placed, neurology residents were simultaneously alerted and placed an EEG cap prior to the arrival of the on-call out-of-hospital technologist. Both EEG cap recordings and standard EEG recordings were visually reviewed at 10 and 20 minutes in a blinded manner by two electroencephalographers. The timing, accuracy of interpretation, and diagnosis between the two techniques were then compared.
Of the 20 adult patients, 70% (14 of 20) of EEG cap recordings were interpretable, whereas 95% (19 of 20) standard EEGs were interpretable; three had findings consistent with NCSE on both the EEG cap and standard EEG recordings. In the time analysis, 16 patients were included. EEG cap placement was significantly more time efficient than an EEG performed by technologist using the usual “stat” EEG protocol, with the median EEG cap electrode placement occurring 86 minutes faster than standard EEG (22.5 minutes vs. 104.5 minutes; P < 0.0001; n = 16).
New rapid EEG recording using improved EEG caps may allow for rapid diagnosis and clinical decision making in suspected NCSE.