Electroencephalography in the diagnosis of genetic generalized epilepsy syndromes

Udaya Seneviratne, Mark J. Cook, Wendyl Jude D'Souza

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Genetic generalized epilepsy (GGE) consists of several syndromes diagnosed and classified on the basis of clinical features and electroencephalographic (EEG) abnormalities. The main EEG feature of GGE is bilateral, synchronous, symmetric, and generalized spike-wave complex. Other classic EEG abnormalities are polyspikes, epileptiform K-complexes and sleep spindles, polyspike-wave discharges, occipital intermittent rhythmic delta activity, eye-closure sensitivity, fixation-off sensitivity, and photoparoxysmal response. However, admixed with typical changes, atypical epileptiform discharges are also commonly seen in GGE. There are circadian variations of generalized epileptiform discharges. Sleep, sleep deprivation, hyperventilation, intermittent photic stimulation, eye closure, and fixation-off are often used as activation techniques to increase the diagnostic yield of EEG recordings. Reflex seizure-related EEG abnormalities can be elicited by the use of triggers such as cognitive tasks and pattern stimulation during the EEG recording in selected patients. Distinct electrographic abnormalities to help classification can be identified among different electroclinical syndromes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number499
Number of pages17
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Issue numberSEP
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Absence seizure
  • Circadian
  • Myoclonic seizure
  • Photoparoxysmal response
  • Polyspike
  • Sleep
  • Spike-wave
  • Tonic-clonic seizure

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