Hyperventilation (HV) is considered to be one of the activation procedures that provokes epileptic potentials and clinical seizures. However, the true clinical yield of HV is not well established. We retrospectively reviewed the records of all patients admitted to JFK Hospital, Edison, New Jersey, between October 2001 and December 2004 for long-term video-electroencephalography (EEG). A total of 475 patients (193 males; 282 females; age range 5-89 years) were included in the study. All patients underwent routine 3-minute HV as part of the evaluation of their clinical episodes. During the initial assessment, 165 patients did not experience a seizure event, 92 had non-epileptic events, 16 experienced psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES) and six had a clinical event. During HV, of the 43 patients who had primary generalized epilepsy, nine had an abnormal EEG and two experienced seizures; however, out of the 159 patients who had partial seizures, only one patient demonstrated an abnormal EEG. Our study demonstrates that routine HV generally has a very low yield in our Epilepsy-Monitoring Unit. This finding also lends support to the idea that partial seizures are relatively resistant to HV activation.
- Epileptiform discharges