Subclinical rhythmic EEG discharges in adults (SREDA) is a very rare benign EEG pattern. The electrophysiological features and atypical variants of SREDA has wide spectrum and they are poorly known. It resembles ictal discharges, and overinterpretation of SREDA may lead to misdiagnosis of epilepsy. Herein, we aimed to report patients with SREDA to identify the frequency and characterized clinical, demographic, electrophysiological features.
We reviewed 22,234 EEG reports that are reported by the same experienced clinical neurophysiologists, between 2012 and 2018. The EEGs with SREDA were reevaluated blindly by three clinical neurophysiologists. The demographic, clinical characteristics, and neuroimaging features of the patients were reviewed.
Subclinical rhythmic EEG discharges in adults was present in 14 EEG records (0.06%), in nine patients. The mean age of patients was 52.1 ± 17.7 (range, 21–71) years. The patients had been diagnosed with several neurologic diseases, including cerebrovascular disease, epilepsy, psychogenic nonepileptic seizures, mental retardation, Alzheimer disease, and transient global amnesia. One patient had unilateral lesion, in whom SREDA had appeared on contralateral side of the lesion, whereas other patients with normal or nonlateralized lesions had SREDA bilaterally and symmetrical. This variant had been misdiagnosed as an ictal discharge in previous EEGs in three patients.
This study indicates that SREDA is difficult to associate with any specific condition. The pathophysiology of SREDA can not be explained by a single mechanism. Even if it is mostly observed in older adults, it is also observed in young adults in this study. It is important to differentiate SREDA from ictal discharge to prevent misdiagnosis of epilepsy especially in nonepileptic paroxysmal events.