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October 1972

Electroencephalographic Activation With Sleep and Methohexital: Comparative Usefulness in the Diagnosis of Epilepsy

Author Affiliations

Madison, Wis
From the Department of Neurology, University of Wisconsin Center for Health Sciences, Madison.

Arch Neurol. 1972;27(4):361-363. doi:10.1001/archneur.1972.00490160089013

Two types of electroencephalographic activations were observed in 41 epileptics during sleep and intravenous administration of methohexital sodium. Type 1 was the induction of specific paroxysmal discharges (SPD) in an otherwise normal tracing; it occurred in four patients during sleep and in two patients during methohexital. Type 2 was an increase of 30% or more in the frequency of SPD in a preexisting abnormal tracing; it occurred in 20 patients during sleep and in 15 during methohexital administration.

Type 1 activation improved the sensitivity of electroencephalography as a diagnostic tool by 10%. However, this was achieved mainly with sleep, because whenever methohexital elicited a type 1 response a similar activation had already been obtained during sleep. Methohexital activation shows no further effectiveness than sleep and had little value in the diagnosis of the epilepsies.

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