INTRODUCTION: Electroencephalography (EEG) remains the most important investigative modality in the diagnostic evaluation of individuals with epilepsy. Children living with epilepsy in the developing world are faced with challenges of lack of access to appropriate diagnostic evaluation and a high risk of misdiagnosis and inappropriate therapy. We appraised EEG studies in a cohort of Nigerian children with epilepsy seen in a tertiary center in order to evaluate access to and the impact of EEG in the diagnostic evaluation of the cases.
METHODS: Inter-ictal EEG was requested in all cases of pediatric epilepsy seen at the pediatric neurology clinic of the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria over a period of 18 months. Clinical diagnosis without EEG evaluation was compared with the final diagnosis post- EEG evaluation.
RESULTS: A total of 329 EEGs were recorded in 329 children, aged 3 months to 16 years, median 61.0 months. Clinical evaluation pre-EEG classified 69.3% of the epilepsies as generalized. The a posteriori EEG evaluations showed a considerably higher proportion of localization-related epilepsies (33.6%). The final evaluation post EEG showed a 21% reduction in the proportion of cases labeled as generalized epilepsy and a 55% increase in cases of localization-related epilepsy(p<0.001).
CONCLUSION: Here we show that there is a high risk of misdiagnosis and therefore the use of inappropriate therapies in children with epilepsy in the absence of EEG evaluation. The implications of our findings in the resource-poor country scenario are key for reducing the burden of care and cost of epilepsy treatment on both the caregivers and the already overloaded tertiary care services.
- outcome and resource-poor countries
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