May 2009  << Back  

Standard EEG and the difficult-to-assess mental status

Kanwaldeep Sidhu, S. MD

Fourth-Year Resident, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI, USA

Richard Balon, MD

Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI, USA

Victor Ajluni, MD

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI, USA

NN Boutros, MD

Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI, USA

BACKGROUND: Delirium commonly appears on the differential diagnostic list of psychiatric patients in acute care settings. When a patient is unable or unwilling to answer questions about orientation, determination of possible delirium or other probable etiologies becomes difficult. The role of the standard electroencephalogram (SEEG) in evaluating such patients is not known.

METHODS: Exhaustive MEDLINE and PsycInfo searches were performed for the period 1950-2007 for all articles cross-referenced for “delirium” and “EEG.” The focus was on method, comorbid conditions, demographics, and prevalence and nature of reported abnormalities.

RESULTS: We reviewed a total of 45 articles, of which 12 met criteria for more stringent review. All findings are presented in chronological order. Our analysis focuses on SEEG, although we also allude to quantitative EEG when described.

CONCLUSIONS: Diffuse slowing of the EEG is considered one of the hallmarks of an encephalopathic process and is commonly reported in psychiatric patients. The EEG may be helpful in the diagnostic evaluation of patients with a difficult-to-assess mental status.

KEYWORDS: delirium, EEG, psychiatric, slowing, organic, mental status

ANNALS OF CLINICAL PSYCHIATRY 2009;21(2):103–108

CORRESPONDENCE: Kanwaldeep S. Sidhu, MD, Wayne State University School of Medicine, 2751 East Jefferson Avenue, Suite 400, Detroit, MI 48207-4166 USA. E-MAIL: ksidhu@med.wayne.edu
Annals of Clinical Psychiatry ©2009 American Academy of Clinical Psychiatrists

 
Read full article