Electroencephalogram; Brain wave test
Brain electrical activity has a certain number of waves per second (frequencies) that are normal for different levels of consciousness. For example, brain waves are faster when you are awake, and slower when you are sleeping.
There are also normal patterns to these waves. The EEG looks for these frequencies and patterns.
Abnormal results on an EEG test may be due to:
Note: A normal EEG does not mean that a seizure did not occur.
Trescher WH, Lesser RP. The Epilepsies. In: Bradley WG, Daroff RB, Fenichel GM, Jankovic J, eds. Neurology in Clinical Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Butterworth-Heinemann; 2008:chap 71.
Krumholz A, Wiebe S, Gronseth G, et al. Practice parameter: evaluating an apparent unprovoked first seizure in adults (an evidence-based review): report of the Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology and the American Epilepsy Society. Neurology. 2007;69(21):1991-2007.
Woo Lee J, Khoshbin S. Clinical neurophysiology and electroencephalography. In: Stern TA, Rosenbaum JF, Fava M, et al, eds. Massachusetts General Hospital Comprehensive Clinical Psychiatry. 1st ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2008:chap 75.
© 2011 University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). All rights reserved.
UMMC is a member of the University of Maryland Medical System,
22 S. Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. TDD: 1-800-735-2258 or 1.866.408.6885