EEG patterns and imaging correlations in encephalopathy: Encephalopathy Part II

Peter W. Kaplan, Andrea O. Rossetti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


The EEG patterns seen with encephalopathies can be correlated to cerebral imaging findings including head computerized tomography and MRI. Background slowing without slow-wave intrusion is seen with acute and chronic cortical impairments that spare subcortical white matter. Subcortical/white matter structural abnormalities or hydrocephalus may produce projected slow-wave activity, while clinical entities involving both cortical and subcortical regions (diffuse cerebral abnormalities) engender both background slowing and slow-wave activity. Triphasic waves are seen with hepatic and renal insufficiency or medication toxicities (e.g., lithium, baclofen) in the absence of a significant cerebral imaging abnormality, Conversely, subcortical/white matter abnormalities may facilitate the appearance of triphasic waves without significant hepatic, renal, or toxic comorbidities. More specific syndromes, such as Jakob-Creutzfeldt disease, autoimmune limbic encephalitis, autoimmune corticosteroid-responsive encephalopathy with thyroid autoimmunity, sepsis-associated encephalopathy, and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, have imaging/EEG changes that are variable but which may include slowing and epileptiform activity. This overview highlighting EEG-imaging correlations may help the treating physician in the diagnosis, and hence the appropriate treatment, of patients with encephalopathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-251
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Clinical Neurophysiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2011


  • Cortical atrophy
  • EEG
  • Encephalitis
  • Encephalopathy
  • Imaging
  • MRI
  • Nonparaneoplastic
  • Subcortical atrophy
  • TWs
  • Triphasic waves

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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