Sensitivity of a Reduced EEG Montage for Seizure Detection in the Neurocritical Care Setting

Brandy Ma, Emily L. Johnson, Eva K. Ritzl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Introduction: Neurocritical care units commonly implement the double-distance reduced EEG montage in postoperative neurosurgic patients who have structural barriers that hinder the placement of a standard 10-20 system array. Despite its widespread use, its sensitivity has not been adequately addressed. We evaluated the sensitivity and specificity of this montage for seizure detection. Methods: One hundred fifty-five full-montage continuous EEGs (cEEGs) completed in the Johns Hopkins University neurocritical care unit containing unequivocal electrographic seizures, status epilepticus, or other abnormalities were selected, comprising 73 ictal and 82 nonictal EEGs. EEGs were reformatted to the reduced montage, and 2-hour clips were reviewed independently by 2 epileptologists who documented the presence of seizures, status, or background abnormalities. Results: The sensitivity and specificity of the reduced montage for electrographic seizure detection was 81% and 92% with substantial interrater agreement (kappa 0.71). The sensitivity for status epilepticus was lower at 69%, but specificity remained high at 97% (kappa 0.67). Several EEGs miscategorized as nonictal were labeled as rather having rhythmic activity or periodic discharges. Evaluation of background patterns on the ictal-interictal continuum resulted in sensitivities ranging from 68% to 83%. Conclusions: Although the specificity of the reduced array is good, epileptologists should remain vigilant when monitoring patients using this montage, given its reduced sensitivity for epileptic activity, especially status epilepticus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-262
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Neurophysiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • Continuous EEG
  • Critical care EEG
  • Double-distance montage
  • Reduced montage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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