2004 issue 1


Volume 13, issue 1

Original article

The usefulness of 24-hour EEG monitoring for diagnosing epileptic seizures in chronic alcohol abusers

Krystyna Pierzchała1, Agnieszka Machowska-Majchrzak1, KRZYSZTOF MILLER2
1. Katedry i Kliniki Śląskiej Akademii Medycznej w Zabrzu
2. Instytutu Medycyny Pracy i Zdrowia Środowiskowego w Sosnowcu
Postępy Psychiatrii i Neurologii, 2004, 13 (1), 9-15
Keywords: alcoholism, epilepsy, EEG, sleep, non-REM sleep


Aim. The aim of the study was to assess 24-hour EEG recording in chronic alcohol abusers with epileptic seizures.

Subjects. Participants in the study were 21 patients aged 31-64 years who had been abusing alcohol in the past 5 to 10 years. The reason for their hospitalisation was: status epilepticus in 2 cases, cluster seizures in 6, and single epileptic seizures in 13 cases.

Method. In all the patients neurological examination, biochemical and electrolytic tests, EEG with photo- and phonic stimulation, EEG after sleep deprivation, 24-hour EEG monitoring, and head CT scan were performed.

Results. Neurological status of 11 patients was normal, 6 patients had pyramidal hemiparesis, one patient had symptoms of disseminated CNS lesions, there was a single case of the cerebellar syndrome and 2 cases of polyneuropathy. No abnormalities were found in head CT scans of 12 patients, while in other cases various structural intracranial lesions were found. Routine EEG examination as well as that following sleep deprivation was normal in 16 patients, and in 5 cases abnormalities were demonstrated. 24-hour EEG recording revealed generalised paroxysmal changes in 2 cases and sleep pattern disturbances in another 13 patients, i.e. absence of the slow-wave sleep phases.

Conclusions. An analysis of EEG recordings obtained from the group of alcohol abusers with epileptic seizures indicated no significant superiority of 24-hour EEG monitoring in detection of paroxysmal abnormalities. However; the technique allowed to reveal (in 62% of cases) sleep pattern disturbances associated with duration of alcohol abuse.

Address for correspondence:
Prof. Krystyna Pierzchała,
Klinika Neurologii Śląskiej Akademii Medycznej,
ul. 3 Maja 13/15,
41-800 Zabrze,
tel./fax: (0-32) 2710975