March 7, 2023

Epilepsy Diagnosis Using a Clinical Decision Tool and Artificially Intelligent Electroencephalography

Abstract found on PubMed

Objective: To construct a tool for non-experts to calculate the probability of epilepsy based on easily obtained clinical information combined with an artificial intelligence readout of the electroencephalogram (AI-EEG).

Materials and methods: We performed a chart review of 205 consecutive patients aged 18 years or older who underwent routine EEG. We created a point system to calculate the pre-EEG probability of epilepsy in a pilot study cohort. We also computed a post-test probability based on AI-EEG results.

Results: One hundred and four (50.7%) patients were female, the mean age was 46 years, and 110 (53.7%) were diagnosed with epilepsy. Findings favoring epilepsy included developmental delay (12.6% vs 1.1%), prior neurological injury (51.4% vs 30.9%), childhood febrile seizures (4.6% vs 0.0%), postictal confusion (43.6% vs 20.0%), and witnessed convulsions (63.6% vs 21.1%); findings favoring alternative diagnoses were lightheadedness (3.6% vs 15.8%) or onset after prolonged sitting or standing (0.9% vs 7.4%). The final point system included 6 predictors: Presyncope (-3 points), cardiac history (-1), convulsion or forced head turn (+3), neurological disease history (+2), multiple prior spells (+1), postictal confusion (+2). Total scores of ?1 point predicted <5% probability of epilepsy, while cumulative scores ?7 predicted >95%. The model showed excellent discrimination (AUROC: 0.86). A positive AI-EEG substantially increases the probability of epilepsy. The impact is greatest when the pre-EEG probability is near 30%.

Significance: A decision tool using a small number of historical clinical features accurately predicts the probability of epilepsy. In indeterminate cases, AI-assisted EEG helps resolve uncertainty. This tool holds promise for use by healthcare workers without specialty epilepsy training if validated in an independent cohort.