Lateralizing value of interictal spikes on overnight sleep-EEG studies in temporal lobe epilepsy

Beth A. Malow, Linda M. Selwa, Donald Ross, Michael S. Aldrich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine the lateralizing value of interictal epileptiform discharges (IEDs) recorded during overnight sleep-EEG studies in temporal lobe epilepsy. Because IEDs are more prevalent in non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep than in wakefulness, overnight sleep-EEG recordings may contribute additional lateralizing information to the epilepsy surgery evaluation beyond daytime EEGs. Methods: Twenty-four subjects with medically refractory temporal lobe epilepsy underwent continuous overnight sleep-EEG recordings. Subjects were seizure free ≥24 h before study and receiving stable doses of medication. The IED loci recorded on overnight studies were compared with daytime EEGs, interictal samples, and ictal recordings during long-term monitoring, brain magnetic resonance images (MRIs), and surgical outcome. Results: (a) In all 24 subjects, including 13 without IEDs on daytime EEGs, temporal IEDs were present during NREM sleep and were exclusively or predominantly (>95%) unilateral in 15 and bitemporal in nine. (b) Unilateral NREM IEDs were concordant with surface or depth ictal-onset regions in 14 subjects, even if MRIs were normal (three subjects) or surface ictal-onset regions were bilateral (five subjects). Eleven of 12 subjects with unilateral concordant NREM IEDs who have undergone surgery are seizure free. (c) Bitemporal IEDs were associated with postoperative seizures in all subjects with normal MRIs or widespread MRI abnormalities. However, all subjects with bitemporal IEDs and MRI hippocampal abnormalities concordant with ictal-onset regions had good to excellent surgical outcomes. Conclusions: When combined with other investigations, IEDs recorded on overnight studies add prognostic data to the epilepsy surgery evaluation not provided by daytime EEGs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1587-1592
Number of pages6
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy
  • Interictal epileptiform discharges
  • Sleep
  • Surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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