The COVID-19 outbreak and approaches to performing EEG in Europe

David Krysl, Sándor Beniczky, Silvana Franceschetti, Alexis Arzimanoglou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 disease (COVID-19) pandemic affects availability and performance of neurophysiological diagnostic methods, including EEG. Our objective was to outline the current situation regarding EEG-based investigations across Europe. Methods A web-based survey was distributed to centres within the European Reference Network on rare and complex epilepsies (ERN EpiCARE). Responses were collected between April 9 and May 15, 2020. Results were analysed with Microsoft Excel, Python Pandas and SciPy. Results Representants from 47 EpiCARE centres from 22 countries completed the survey. At the time of completing the survey, inpatient video-EEGs had been stopped or restricted in most centres (61.7% vs. 36.2% for adults, and 38.3% vs. 53.2% for children). Invasive investigations and epilepsy surgery were similarly affected. Acute EEGs continued to be performed, while indications for outpatient EEGs were limited and COVID-19 triage put in place. The strictness of measures varied according to extent of the outbreak in a given country. Conclusions The results indicate a profound impact of COVID-19 on neurophysiological diagnostics, especially inpatient video-EEGs, invasive investigations, and epilepsy surgery. The COVID-19 pandemic may hamper care for patients in need of EEG-based investigations, particularly patients with seizure disorders. ERN EpiCARE will work on recommendations on how to rapidly adapt to such situations in order to alleviate consequences for our patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)548-554
Number of pages7
JournalEpileptic Disorders
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • coronavirus
  • electroencephalography
  • epilepsy
  • epilepsy surgery
  • video-EEG

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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