Electrographic seizures and ictal-interictal continuum (IIC) patterns in critically ill patients

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Epilepsy & behavior


Critical care long-term continuous electroencephalogram (cEEG) monitoring has expanded dramatically in the last several decades spurned by technological advances in EEG digitalization and several key clinical findings: 1-Seizures are relatively common in the critically ill-large recent observational studies suggest that around 20% of critically ill patients placed on cEEG have seizures. 2-The majority (~75%) of patients who have seizures have exclusively "electrographic seizures", that is, they have no overt ictal clinical signs. Along with the discovery of the unexpectedly high incidence of seizures was the high prevalence of EEG patterns that share some common features with archetypical electrographic seizures but are not uniformly considered to be "ictal". These EEG patterns include lateralized periodic discharges (LPDs) and generalized periodic discharges (GPDs)-patterns that at times exhibit ictal-like behavior and at other times behave more like an interictal finding. Dr. Hirsch and colleagues proposed a conceptual framework to describe this spectrum of patterns called the ictal-interictal continuum (IIC). In the following years, investigators began to answer some of the key pragmatic clinical concerns such as which patients are at risk of seizures and what is the optimal duration of cEEG use. At the same time, investigators have begun probing the core questions for critical care EEG-what is the underlying pathophysiology of these patterns, at what point do these patterns cause secondary brain injury, what are the optimal treatment strategies, and how do these patterns affect clinical outcomes such as neurological disability and the development of epilepsy. In this review, we cover recent advancements in both practical concerns regarding cEEG use, current treatment strategies, and review the evidence associating IIC/seizures with poor clinical outcomes.

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ePub ahead of print



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