The diagnosis of nonconvulsive status epilepticus (NCSE) in patients with nonepileptiform EEG patterns remains a challenge.
To evaluate the usefulness of single photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) and its quantification (QtSPECT) in the diagnosis of NCSE.
We retrospectively reviewed patients admitted with clinical suspicion of NCSE who underwent an HMPAO-SPECT simultaneously with scalp EEG showing nonepileptiform patterns, in a 5-year period. After a complete diagnostic workup, treatment, and clinical evolution, disregarding the SPECT results, patients were classified into confirmed NCSE (n = 11) and non-NCSE (n = 8). Then, we compared the EEG and SPECT results in both groups.
Lateralized rhythmic delta activity (LRDA) was predominant in the NCSE group (45.4%, p = .045), while lateralized irregular slowing was observed equally in both groups. Patients with NCSE showed significant hyperperfusion compared with non-NCSE patients (p = .026). QtSPECT correctly classified 91% of patients in NCSE and 75% patients with non-NCSE (p = .006).
Regional cerebral blood flow measured with SPECT could be useful in the diagnosis of NCSE in cases of an EEG pattern with lateralized slow activity and high clinical suspicion.