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November 1966

The 6-per-Second Spike and Wave Complex: The Wave and Spike Phantom

Author Affiliations

From the Chemical Research and Development Laboratories, Edgewood Arsenal, Md. Dr. Tharp is presently with the Duke Medical Center, Durham, NC.

Arch Neurol. 1966;15(5):533-537. doi:10.1001/archneur.1966.00470170087009

THE 6-PER-SECOND spike and wave, first described in 1950 by Walter,1 is a distinct electroencephalographic pattern characterized by bursts of low voltage 6-per-second spike and wave discharges recorded principally over the frontocentral areas of the head. Walter referred to these discharges as "phantom petit mal" because of their morphological resemblance to miniature petit mal discharges. Marshall2 noted their infrequent appearance in the usual monopolar and bipolar montages and suggested the use of the "comparison" linkage which records the potential difference between symmetrical scalp areas in one channel. Marshall called the discharge "wave and spike phantom" (WSP), and discussed its clinical concomitants of simple fainting and seizures. Only two reviews of this EEG complex have appeared in the American literature.3,4 Both reports stressed its infrequent occurrence, ranging from 0.4% to 1%, in large groups of patients undergoing EEG. These reports also discussed the relationship of these discharges

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