Does an abnormal EEG confirm epilepsy?
Minor irregularities of no significance are frequently seen in EEG recordings of normal children, especially infants and young children. Non-epileptic abnormalities and even epileptic activity may be recorded in children with neurological and behavioural problems (eg. cerebral palsy, autism, speech delay) and do not mean that the child has epilepsy. Furthermore, about 2% of normal school-age children who do not have seizures have epileptic activity on EEG. Conversely, a normal EEG does not exclude epilepsy. Many types of epilepsy may be associated with a normal EEG between seizures. A normal EEG during a “seizure” usually excludes epilepsy as the cause. The interpretation of EEG findings in children can be difficult and it is recommended that EEGs in children are recorded and interpreted by clinicians experienced in paediatric EEG.