High-Frequency Oscillations on Interictal Epileptiform Discharges in Routinely Acquired Scalp EEG: Can It Be Used as a Prognostic Marker?

Hanan El Shakankiry, Susan T. Arnold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction: Despite all the efforts for optimizing epilepsy management in children over the past decades, there is no clear consensus regarding whether to treat or not to treat epileptiform discharges (EDs) after a first unprovoked seizure or the optimal duration of therapy with anti-seizure medication (ASM). It is therefore highly needed to find markers on scalp electroencephalogram (EEG) that can help identify pathological EEG discharges that require treatment. Aim of the study: This retrospective study aimed to identify whether the coexistence of ripples/high-frequency oscillations (HFOs) with interictal EDs (IEDs) in routinely acquired scalp EEG is associated with a higher risk of seizure recurrence and could be used as a prognostic marker. Methods: 100 children presenting with new onset seizure to Children’s Medical Center- Dallas during 2015–2016, who were not on ASM and had focal EDs on an awake and sleep EEG recorded with sample frequency of 500 HZ, were randomly identified by database review. EEGs were analyzed blinded to the data of the patients. HFOs were visually identified using review parameters including expanded time base and adjusted filter settings. Results: The average age of patients was 6.3 years (±4.35 SD). HFOs were visually identified in 19% of the studied patients with an inter-rater reliability of 99% for HFO negative discharges and 78% agreement for identification of HFOs. HFOs were identified more often in the younger age group; however, they were identified in 11% of patients >5 years old. They were more frequently associated with spikes than with sharp waves and more often with higher amplitude EDs. Patients with HFOs were more likely to have a recurrence of seizures in the year after the first seizure (P < 0.05) and to continue to have seizures after 2 years (P < 0.0001). There was no statistically significant difference between the two groups with regards to continuing ASM after 2 years. Conclusion: Including analysis for HFOs in routine EEG interpretation may increase the yield of the study and help guide the decision to either start or discontinue ASM. In the future, this may also help to identify pathological discharges with deleterious effects on the growing brain and set a new target for the management of epilepsy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number709836
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
StatePublished - Jul 30 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • epilepsy
  • high-frequency oscillations
  • prognostic marker
  • ripples
  • scalp EEG

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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