EEG Waves

  • Diffuse background slowing = seen in almost all cases of depressed level of consciousness
  • Continuous spike and wave activity in a stuporous or confused patient = nonconvulsive status epilepticus
  • Triphasic wave = hepatic encephalopathy, renal and pulmonary failure
  • PLEDS (periodic lateralizing epileptiform discharges) = herpes encephalitis and large destructive hemispheric lesions
  • Beta activity in combination with diffuse slowing = suggests overdose with barbiturates, benzodiazepines, or sedative hypnotic drugs
  • Focal spike and wave activity = a single irritative focus as in complex partial (focal) onset seizures
  • Generalized paroxysmal spike and wave activity = generalized seizures
  • Burst suppression pattern = often seen in severe hypoxicischemic brain injury with very poor prognosis
  • Electrocerebral silence = indicative of brain death



Rana, Abdul Qayyum, and John Anthony Morren. Neurological Emergencies In Clinical Practice. London: Springer, 2013. Print.

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