(HealthDay News) – Seizures are common among hospitalized patients who undergo electroencephalography (EEG) due to spells or altered mental status, according to a study in the April issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

John P. Betjemann, MD, and colleagues from the University of California in San Francisco retrospectively analyzed data from 1,048 adults who had undergone inpatient EEG between 2005 and 2010 for an indication of spells or altered mental status.

The researchers found that 78.7% of patients had an abnormal EEG finding. Seizures occurred in 7.4% of patients and interictal epileptiform discharges were observed in 18.5% of patients. After adjusting for demographic and clinical factors, seizures were more likely in patients who underwent EEG due to an intracranial mass (odds ratio (OR), 4.23) or spells (OR, 4.42). Of 71 patients with seizures where the timing could be determined, 97% had their first seizure within 24 hours of monitoring, and those with seizures were less likely to be discharged (OR, 0.45).

“Seizures occurred at a high frequency in hospitalized patients with spells and altered mental status,” the authors write. “The EEG may be an underused investigative tool in the hospital with the potential to identify treatable causes of these common disorders.”

One author reports receiving honoraria from Grifols Inc.

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