Subacute spongiform encephalopathy with periodic paroxysmal activities: Clinical evolution and serial EEG findings in 20 cases

U. Aguglia, G. Farnarier, P. Tinuper, M. Rey, M. Gomez, A. Quattrone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Evolution of both clinical and EEG abnormalities was analyzed in 20 (16 pathologically confirmed) patients suffering from subacute spongiform encephalopathy with periodic paroxysmal activities (PPA) on the EEG. Illness duration was 17 months in 65% and 10% of cases, respectively. All data but EEG were utilized to assess 3 conventional clinical stages in 20 patients. The early clinical stage was characterized by gradual presentation of gait disturbances, mental deterioration, sensory or autonomic disorders. In contrast with other reports, no PPA were observed in 10 EEG recordings from 7 patients examined at the early clinical stage. Both clinical and EEG findings were not in contrast with a hypothetic subcortical onset of disease. Similar to recent data in the literature, early PPA appeared within 12 weeks of disease evolution in 88% of patients who underwent EEG recordings in the first 3 months of disease. Nonetheless, these early PPA always occurred at an intermediary stage, when our patients showed a marked worsening of the clinical picture. Focal, segmental and/or generalized myoclonic jerks were observed in 15%, 53% and 100% of cases at prodromal, intermediary and terminal stages respectively. Different kinds of PPA were observed: bi-tri-phasic periodic complexes (PC), periodic complexes with multiphasic configuration (PPC) and periodic polyspiking discharges (PPD). Abnormal 'pacing' of PC by slowly repeated flashes was found in 4 patients presenting visual hallucinations or cortical blindness. Burst-suppression activity was frequently found at the terminal stage in decorticate patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-158
Number of pages12
JournalClinical EEG Electroencephalography
Volume18
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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