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August 1983

Clinical and EEG Estimates of Absence Seizure Frequency

Author Affiliations

From the Epilepsy Branch, National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke (Drs Browne, Penry, Porter, and White), Bethesda, Md; and the Department of Neurology, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville (Dr Dreifuss). Dr Browne is now with Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Veterans Administration Medical Center. Dr Penry is now with Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC.

Arch Neurol. 1983;40(8):469-472. doi:10.1001/archneur.1983.04210070009004

• Absence seizure frequency was estimated in 20 patients (5 to 15 years old) before and after treatment with ethosuximide. Estimates were obtained from mothers' histories, observations by nurses, intensive observation by trained observers, physical and neurological examinations, routine EEG, and 12-hour telemetered EEG. Both before treatment (high seizure frequency) and after treatment (low frequency), telemetered EEG was the most reliable method of estimation, and intensive observation was the next best method. After treatment, the mothers' and nurses' estimates of seizure frequency were significantly less than the telemetered EEG estimates. The neurological examination and routine EEG were sufficient to diagnose absence attacks in all 20 patients and to determine if the attacks were completely controlled by therapy in all but two patients.