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Article   |    
The Clinical Use of EEG in a General Psychiatric Setting
Raymond W. Lam; Trevor A. Hurwitz; Juhn A. Wada
Psychiatric Services 1988; doi:
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The authors thank Barbara Buell and the health records staff at the Health Sciences Centre Hospital psychiatric pavilion for their help in the chart review.

Department of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego

University of British Columbia, Neuropsychiatry unit of the university's Health Sciences Centre Hospital in Vancouver

Division of neurological sciences (department of psychiatry), and the division of neurology (department of medicine) at the university, EEG department and seizure investigation unit of the Health Sciences Centre Hospital

American Psychiatric Association

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Abstract

In a university teaching hospital, the charts of 150 psychiatric inpatients consecutively referred for EEG were reviewed to survey the clinical use of the EEG by psychiatrists. Individual psychiatrists referred between 18 and 31 percent of their caseloads, and 11.3 percent of the EEGs were abnormal. The only dinical indications significantly associated with an abnormal EEG were a history of epilepsy and suspicion of a recent seizure, The presence of an organic factor, which was previously identified in the history, mental status examination, or physical examination of 58 percent of the patients, was significantly associated with an ab- normal EEG. However, none of the abnormal EEGs helped identify an organic etiology that was not already diagnosed, and in three cases clinicians appeared to ignore abnormal EEG results. Based on these data, the authors discourage the routine use of the EEG for psychiatric patients, rec- ommending that an EEG be considered only when the clinical history and findings suggest an underlying organic disorder.

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