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Abnormal Eeg's


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Hi,

I am just wondering if anyone has had abnormal EEG'S? I had 2 that were abnormal, and they didn't know why. Said it is clear that it is not normal, but do not know the cause. I also had the blood test ACHR.neurl.gangl.AB, and am just wondering if there may be a connection. Also am wondering if others have had abnormal EEG's, and what the cause was determined to be.

Thanks so much.

Suzy

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Hi,

Was the blood test positive or abnormal?

I have had EEG's but none abnormal (in recent years). I had epilepsy as a child so I did have abnormal epileptic EEG's as a child. I don't think there is a link between that blood test and an abnormal EEG, but I am not sure.

So, they didn't feel it was seizures, narcolepsy, or another sleep disorder etc?

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Hi ajw,

Yes the blood test was positive. High levels too. And no they didn't feel it was seizures.(neither did I). They said it is unclear what is happening. I guess I am trying to link all that has been happening to me to this now. I am wondering if maybe the antibodies to the ganglia could case that, or just plain lack of blood.

So did you just outgrow your seizures? that's great if you did. Thanks for the response.

Suzy

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Last year my neurologist did a talk and said hat there was a study published in neurological journal(don't know which one) that showed that folks with orthostatic dys. had abnormal EEg's and that i was seizure like. He told me that one would feel like something was wrong (I call it a brain fart) and get confused. Then it seemingly moves on. He said that when I had those symptoms again to go right in --immediately and get an EEG. Then the diagnosis could be made. Hope this helps

Also remember that not everything is part of pots, etc. Just read over a note from my pcp,KNOWS POTS, and she sid "I'm concerned that Miriam attributes her symptoms to pots" which concerns me. M

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Hi ajw, I'm real glad you grew out of your seizures. And I'm glad you don't take it for granted. (people who have been sick can really appreciate just feeling well, or at least better, like no one else.) I am so happy for you.

Hi jjb, sorry about the seizures your daughter has. When you say spikes and waves are they on the same test? Mine was abnormal on the left side of my brain for both tests I had 3 years apart. On one test they were sharp patterns, but constant. And on the other they were slow patterns, but constant. I didn't get spikes which is why I don't think they think it is seizures. It is just a constant abnormality. Do you know on your nephew what they said his was abnormal from? Thanks for sharing. And I hope your daughter will outgrow her seizures like ajw.

Hi Miriam, thank you for that information. Yes it does help me a LOT. I will be spending the rest of the day looking for that article, or one like it. I feel the (brain fart) feeling almost constantly. It improves sometimes (when I'm laying down usually) but never goes completly away. Is he saying the diagnoses of seizures? Or something else? Thank you so much for sharing this with me. And I do know that everything is not pots. But for me ALL my symptoms started at about the same time. I have so many of them, and tests that are off, but no one really knows why. That is why I am hoping to find answers and solutions. Unfortunatly my symptoms got much worse with most medication, and I don't know what treatments if any I can take. So maybe it is like a RUSTY needle in a haystack, even if I find the answer, can I really use it. Thanks again for sharing this info. take care.

Suzy

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When my POTS/NCS was at its worst (and I didn't have any diagnosis), I had my first EEG. I started feeling ill during the test and it coincided with an abnormal reading. It's a long time ago now, but I think I felt very faint and it was one of those horrible times when you want to lie down but I had to sit in a chair during the test. Had they not seen me there and found I was able to communicate as usual, they said they would have thought it was a grand mal seizure from the EEG. I have never got the to bottom of why this happens but I do think there is something strange going on which isn't epilepsy.

I should say that my situation is different to yours since my EEG when I'm well is normal. And if I feel a bit ill, that doesn't seem to be enough to cause the abnormal EEG. Its only when I feel really bad.

Maybe if the brain is receiving less oxygen than usual, but not enough to cause a faint, it sets off these electrical abnormalities in people that are susceptible. Thinking about it now, it might be interesting to have an EEG on a tilt table test where they prolong the pre-syncopal state. But not interesting enough for me to volunteer for it!

My abnormal EEG has been extensively investigated since it took years to find out that dysautonomia was the problem. All the senior neurologists say it isn't epilepsy but have no suggestions of alternatives. My MRIs and psychological and skills tests are all fine so it appears to be something transient rather than any permanent structural problem.

I haven't knowingly had the blood test you refer to so can't comment on any possible connection.

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Hi Suzy,

I think that the acetylcholine receptors in the neural ganglion that they did the blood test for antibodies against are located in the peripheral nervous system so I doubt that there would be a link with abnormal EEG activity.

I have read of some testing centres doing EEG during tilt tests (usually to differentiate syncope from epileptic collapses) - it would be interesting to know what shows on the EEG of someone before and during a syncopal episode.

Flop

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Last year my neurologist did a talk and said hat there was a study published in neurological journal(don't know which one) that showed that folks with orthostatic dys. had abnormal EEg's and that i was seizure like. He told me that one would feel like something was wrong (I call it a brain fart) and get confused. Then it seemingly moves on. He said that when I had those symptoms again to go right in --immediately and get an EEG. Then the diagnosis could be made. ...

I'm going to have to look to see if I can find that article. I had an EEG done while I was in the hospital last June. They did all of the strobe light flashy stuff to see if they could make me have a seizure (which I've never had mind you). The results indicated normal brain waves during all the flashy stuff but that I had some other unusual spikes I think toward the end of the test. They wanted to hook my up and keep me in the hospital for another three days, and since I had already not slept for the three nights I had been there and was otherwise being discharged, I declined the invitation.

I still have it on my to do list to get another referal and have that test repeated. When I flair I often get that feeling of confusion, but it doesn't last long enough to go and get to the hospital and hooked up. Which is probably why they wanted me to stay as an inpatient. I think I read that they do have some eeg systems that you can wear as an outpatient ... kind of like you would for a holter monitor.

This is an interesting post. I'll have to bump this follow up on my to-do list and get it over with.

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Hi Cath, That is really interesting. Thank you for sharing this with me. I think it is also very interesting that you had that while sitting up. I had mine while laying down. The second one anyways. I don't remember as well on the first one, but I think I was laying down. I have a sort of spacey feeling in my head all the time. It becomes worse, and severe when I feel faint, or actually faint. What a great thing that you didn't faint or they might have though it was a seizure without all the jerking movements. And I really know what you mean about the feeling like you want to lie down but can't. I had tried to explain that before, but just got told I was depressed. "people who want to give up and lay in bed all day are depressed." So it's good to hear it from someone else. That is quite reassuring to me to know that others here are also experiencing "abnormal" findings on EEG's. When I talked to the nurse she said "huh, this test shows you have seizures, but he didn't prescribe anything to you. That made me nervous until I got the letter from the neurologist in the mail that said that while my test is abnormal it doesn't seem to fit in with the usual ruberic of seizures. So I really do agree with you that there is something strange going on that isn't epilepsy. I was so afraid that I was having seizures that I stopped telling Drs. that I was fainting. Untill I did it in the middle of a crowd, and got hauled off to ER! Thank you so much for your reply. It is very reassuring to me!

Hi Flop, Thank you for the reply on the neural ganglion. I am having a real hard time with this test, because most information I find on it is about paraneoplastic syndrome. They do mention it with pots. But most articles concentrate on that. So I don't get much understanding of how it effects me. And I am a informationaholic! That is so interesting about the TTT with the EEG. Do you know what testing centers? Thanks so much for the reply.

Suzy

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There are a few articles out there .... here's one summary on pubmed:

1: Auton Neurosci. 2005 Feb 7;117(2):132-42.

Spectral analysis of slow modulation of EEG amplitude and cardiovascular variables in subjects with postural tachycardia syndrome.

Lagerlund TD, Low PA, Novak V, Novak P, Hines SM, McPhee B, Busacker NE.

Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905, United States.

OBJECTIVE: Previous studies have reported slow (<0.5 Hz) modulation of electroencephalographic (EEG) background amplitude and suggested that this reflects periodic neuronal activity in the brainstem, such as may be recorded from cardiovascular and respiratory centers in animals. We searched for a relationship between EEG amplitude modulation and modulation of simultaneously recorded cardiovascular variables and attempted to determine whether this relationship was altered in subjects with postural tachycardia syndrome (POTS). METHODS: We recorded EEG, blood flow velocity in the middle cerebral artery (MCA), heart rate, respirations, and blood pressure from subjects with POTS and controls during head-up tilt. Time-frequency analysis of 0.512-s epochs of EEG was performed to determine peak alpha amplitude. Spectra were divided into 3 bands: ultraslow, middle, and respiratory. RESULTS: EEG alpha amplitude modulation in all frequency bands was reduced in POTS subjects while supine. EEG modulation decreased in controls with head-up tilt but not in POTS subjects. Heart rate modulation in the respiratory frequency band decreased with head-up tilt and was significantly less (P<0.02) in ultraslow and respiratory frequency bands in POTS subjects after head-up tilt. Blood pressure and MCA flow velocity modulation in middle and respiratory bands increased with head-up tilt to a greater degree in POTS subjects. Blood pressure and MCA flow velocity modulation frequencies were moderately correlated, but correlations between EEG and cardiovascular variable modulation frequencies were generally low, being highest in the respiratory band but not statistically significant. CONCLUSION: There are subtle differences in EEG amplitude modulation in subjects with POTS. Altered EEG amplitude modulation in POTS may reflect altered brainstem physiology in this disorder.

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Thank you EarthMother, I am going to copy this in my documents, and save it so I have a copy in case there is ever a question again as to what is causing the abnormal results. I really don't want to be diagnosed with epilepsy especially because the medications that work on it make me more sick. I really appreciate you finding this for me.

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Last year my neurologist did a talk and said hat there was a study published in neurological journal(don't know which one) that showed that folks with orthostatic dys. had abnormal EEg's and that i was seizure like. He told me that one would feel like something was wrong (I call it a brain fart) and get confused. Then it seemingly moves on. He said that when I had those symptoms again to go right in --immediately and get an EEG. Then the diagnosis could be made. ...

I'm going to have to look to see if I can find that article. I had an EEG done while I was in the hospital last June. They did all of the strobe light flashy stuff to see if they could make me have a seizure (which I've never had mind you). The results indicated normal brain waves during all the flashy stuff but that I had some other unusual spikes I think toward the end of the test. They wanted to hook my up and keep me in the hospital for another three days, and since I had already not slept for the three nights I had been there and was otherwise being discharged, I declined the invitation.

I still have it on my to do list to get another referal and have that test repeated. When I flair I often get that feeling of confusion, but it doesn't last long enough to go and get to the hospital and hooked up. Which is probably why they wanted me to stay as an inpatient. I think I read that they do have some eeg systems that you can wear as an outpatient ... kind of like you would for a holter monitor.

This is an interesting post. I'll have to bump this follow up on my to-do list and get it over with.

Hi again Earth Mother,

I don't know how, but I missed your first post. They were going to do the 3 day EEG on me also, but I also declined. I think I just didn't want to be diagnosed, and have the choice of taking some drugs that I knew would make me worse, or losing my license. Please if you do decide to get the test done let me know how it comes out. I don't know if this will end up being something they will have me come back in for or not, but at least if they do I have the other test results for the dysautonomia, and armed with this article I would try it again. At least it is not invasive! Thanks for finding the article.

Suzy

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While I was having mine-- just at the end my Neurologist just hapenned to walk by and looked at it, she asked the tech--what was she doing? and she just pointed at me and said nothing. So the good part is no diagnosis of seizures. Yet brain farts still abound. M

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While I was having mine-- just at the end my Neurologist just hapenned to walk by and looked at it, she asked the tech--what was she doing? and she just pointed at me and said nothing. So the good part is no diagnosis of seizures. Yet brain farts still abound. M

Well I am real glad you didn't get mis-diagnosed. I love what you said "brain farts still abound"! Thant is so funny!

Suzy

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Hi jjb, sorry about the seizures your daughter has. When you say spikes and waves are they on the same test? Mine was abnormal on the left side of my brain for both tests I had 3 years apart. On one test they were sharp patterns, but constant. And on the other they were slow patterns, but constant. I didn't get spikes which is why I don't think they think it is seizures. It is just a constant abnormality. Do you know on your nephew what they said his was abnormal from? Thanks for sharing. And I hope your daughter will outgrow her seizures like ajw.

Suzy

Hey Suzy. My daughters eeg pattern is almost continuous spike and wave in the right hemi and severe slowing in the left. Surprisingly she functions at a "normal" level.

My nephew has a neuro vascular condition (SWS). Typically these kids have severe seizures. My nephew does not, he just as an abnormal eeg. A cousin I have has an abnormal eeg too. But we do have a lot of epilepsy in our family.

I have had hundreds of episodes that were probably seizures (according to neuro) HOWEVER ... after reading through a book on autonomic disorders. I now understand sometimes it is difficult to differentiate between the simple partial seizure (which I & my daughter have) and autonomic activation. I wonder if autonomic activation might show up on an eeg as abnormal.

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I have read of some testing centres doing EEG during tilt tests (usually to differentiate syncope from epileptic collapses) - it would be interesting to know what shows on the EEG of someone before and during a syncopal episode.

Flop

The aut neuro we are seeing wants to do an eeg with Ava. As I have mentioned, Ava's seizures are autonomic simple partial seizures. Her symptoms are nausea (occasionally vomiting), pupil dilation, temp spike, flushing, HR spike and o2 drop. If she goes status (prolonged seizure), she remains conscious but cannot speak and becomes paralyzed from head to toe.

We see one of the best epilestologists on the country and she is pretty sure they are seizures but does think they are somewhat unusual, whereas the aut neuro is wondering if the episodes might be more dysautonomia than seizure or perhaps a movement disorder.

Because she tends to cluster, I am leaning toward mostly seizure but wonder if the seizure is triggering a more intense ANS response .... or a more intense autonomic reaction triggering a seizure.

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Hi jjb,

That is great that your daughter still functions at a normal level. That must be so hard for you to be sick and have a child who is sick also. And she is only 4 years old? I am so sorry. Your family sure did get more than their fair share of seizures. That is interesting that you have episodes that the nero thinks are seizures. What do you think? Which do you feel causes it? And if you don't mind my asking does your daughter take any medication for the seizures? And if she does has it made any difference? I sure hope you find find some answers for both you and your daughter about this. Take care of yourself.

Suzy

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In my last post I gave you the highlights of what happened with my abnormal EEG. I'm not sure I've given you or others a fair picture of what happened and I think I need to say a little more because the whole process was actually very negative to my health, long drawn out and not one I would wish anyone to repeat. Looking back again at your posts, I wonder if you have already been here so I may be preaching to the converted.

If you and your doctor are pretty confident you don't have seizures, I would not get any further EEG testing. I know this sounds very negative and the only thing I have to back this up is a series of negative personal experiences, but I think there are some points worth making.

I have seen neurologists at the top of the profession specializing in epilepsy and diagnosing epilepsy versus fainting. I don't think there is an answer to many abnormal EEGs in current medical knowledge. There might be educated guesses, but little more. Even in this short topic, though many are reporting abnormal EEGs, they seem to be abnormal in very different ways so I don't think there is going to be an easy answer.

Whatever the cause, the outcome is too much electrical activity. To dampen down the electrical activity will require anti-epileptic drugs. I have taken several of these. None helped. They all have short term side effects which range from unpleasant to intolerable. The long term effects on brain function can be permanent. It may be worth putting up with this if I had frequent epileptic seizures. But if the problem is POTS/NCS and the only potential benefit is a slight improvement in brain fog/confusion when these episodes happen (not a general improvement in brain fog I hasten to add), there is no way I would take them again for such a small potential difference in symptoms.

If someone puts in your records that you may have epilepsy, that is a label which is very difficult to get rid of. Like it or not, society treats all epileptics the same and caters at the level of those who are most affected. This means all sorts of restrictions start appearing which can affect work, insurance, leisure activities even if they are entirely inappropriate in your circumstances. It can also distract the doctors from looking for whatever is causing most of your symptoms.

In summary, all I can see in pursuing an abnormal EEG which isn't epilepsy is a small potential upside in understanding with the potential for a lot of downsides. Proceed with caution!

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Interesting point of view Cath, thanks for adding it. In my case I do not experience syncope, the eeg at the hospital was administered because of my shaking and "strange jerks and twitches) I was having. The attending neuro had recommended anti-seizure meds which I tried for three days (even 1/4 dose) and they left me completely zoned out and still just as messed up. My PCP had approved me stopping them (as the neuro who gave them to me did so at the ER and was not familiar with my entire medical history). Turns out then when I was in the hospital that next week and saw this SAME neuro, she was not pleased I had stopped the anti-seizure meds. (I was still shaking and twitching lots last spring). So when the EEG showed two spikes and the lab tech saw me twitch once (when I saw a friend enter the room) she used that data to support her theory on seizure and recommended keeping me for further admitted eval.

I also learned I was having blood sugar spikes and drops at this time (reactive hypoglycia) and chose to focus on one problem at a time. My cardiologist who I saw in the next couple of months helped me to understand the symptoms of hyperadrenic POTS and it put my own mind at ease about the surges and subsequent shaking storms.

My blood sugar is now stable with a hypoglycimic diet and I don't seem to have nearly as many adrenaline flares, and even tho my POTS is still the pits, I haven't had the shakes or twitching since early fall.

Hmmmmm. Maybe I'll ask my PCP if it is even worth following up on the EEG at this time given my present circumstances.

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Hi Cath and EarthMother, it is interesting what we leave out when talking to people,and why. My experience with the abnormal EEG's was also very negative. That is why I came here and asked the question. I always proceed with a great deal of caution when telling anyone about my health care,because when I went through my local medical comunity trying to find out what was wrong they found neat little ways to "punish" me for seeking health care. The abnormal EEG was one of them. Interestingly when I had it done I hadn't fainted all out yet. So it wasn't ordered even for fainting. A doctor (not a neuro) said that due to my symptoms of chest pain, and such, (I think he was reffering to "panick attacks") he was doing a EEG. He said that he had seen patients have seizures that weren't like normal seizures. So doing what the doctors told me at the time without question I did the EEG. And the most interesting part was that I was on xanax, which I was told is used to supress seizures. (I was WAY sicker on the drugs they gave me then before I had taken nothing.) When I did the EEG I was concerned it would come out positive, and was actually hoping the xanax would help supress it, because that is how I understood it should work. I asked if I should stop taking the xanax, and they said no take it as scheduled. So I did. I was taking it every 4 hours, because it was being pushed on me to take a larger dose, and if I took that dose less frequently it would make me even sicker. (trust me when I tell you they went to large extremes to make me take these drugs even though I told them they were making me sick. Even threatening me.) My scheduled time to take it was one hour before the test. Which I was hoping would help me fall asleep like they wanted me too.

I did the test, and the doctor (still not the neuro mind you) called me on the phone and told me I was having seizures. I was in a public place, and had to sit on the ground while this doctor told me about the drugs I would need to take, and such, and such, and such. Then he asked me which pharmacy I use. I told him, and hung up and started crying (still in public). I found a quiet place to sit, and called my mom. After blubbering all this to her she said I wouldn't take the medicine untill I talked to a neurologist (thanks mom!). So I did not go pick the medicine up, and after I hadn't gotten it in a couple of days the docotor called me, and when I said I want to talk to a neuro dr first before I start taking such a serious medication, he got angry and said I told you to take it. You are going to talk to a neurologist. Then he started freaking out saying I shouldn't drive. In one week I recieved a letter from mvd that my drivers license had been medically suspended. It took me a few months to get it back after seeing a neurologist. He concluded that it wasn't seizures I was experiencing. And the most interesting part of all this is for the first test I had what was called rare sharp activity over the left temporal lobe. I was on xanax, and was told it is used as an antiepileptic. I asked if it could have caused this, and was told no. It would cause slowing. not sharp activity. The second test I had been off the xanax for 3 years. It had slow wave activity over left temporal lobe.

So thank you for sharing this. I didn't push for the second EEG. But find the info on it interesting. Just happy that they didn't feel I was having seizures also.

Suzy

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That must be so hard for you to be sick and have a child who is sick also. And she is only 4 years old? I am so sorry. Your family sure did get more than their fair share of seizures. That is interesting that you have episodes that the nero thinks are seizures. What do you think? Which do you feel causes it? And if you don't mind my asking does your daughter take any medication for the seizures? And if she does has it made any difference? I sure hope you find find some answers for both you and your daughter about this. Take care of yourself.

I don't really consider us "sick" but know we have quirks that make us vulnerable. When I joined this forum, I was excited to learn there are centers that teach "reconditioning". Over the years I have found ways to recondition myself w/ diet & specific exercises (leg work) as well as avoiding certain meds. The episodes that may be seizures occur when other dys symptoms occur and have all of the same triggers.

My daughter tried two AEDs (seizure meds) but neither worked and the second AED caused a generalized reaction. Right now she is only being treated with a dietary treatment for epilepsy (Low glycemic, a mod ketogenic) and takes benzodiazepines as needed. This treatment has been the most effective for her.

I also wanted to mention, I share the same feelings as some of the other posters about getting a DX of epilepsy. I would NEVER want seizures confirmed via EEG. My feeling is these partial seizures, are really not that big a deal in my case and in many cases and they do not require treatment. For me they do not interfere with anything. I just have funny feelings ... deja vu, etc. Getting a firm DX can have terrible consequences.

My daughters case is different though because her episodes always effect her o2 and HR and make her more vulnerable to SUDEP and she is vulnerable to status.

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