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Pragmatic computerised perfusion diagnostics for non-convulsive status epilepticus: a prospective observational study.

BACKGROUND: Non-convulsive status epilepticus (NCSE) is a time-dependent neurological disorder often misdiagnosed in the emergency setting. Electroencephalography (EEG) is often not available on a 24/7 basis, and Salzburg criteria may at times miss the diagnosis. Here, we tested the accuracy of hyperperfusion on CT perfusion imaging (CTP) in the identification of NCSE against Salzburg criteria, to define its potential role in a pragmatic diagnostic workflow.

METHODS: We enrolled consecutive patients with suspected acute seizure or seizure disorder undergoing brain imaging with CTP and EEG from January 2021 to March 2023. EEG recordings, Salzburg criteria and CTP hyperperfusion were rated and adjudicated by two independent experts blinded to patient status. A reference standard including all clinical, lab, imaging, EEG and therapeutic data was used to adjudicate NCSE diagnosis. Sensitivity, specificity, diagnostic accuracy, positive and negative predictive values (NPV) were calculated for CTP hyperperfusion and Salzburg criteria versus NCSE adjudicated according to reference standard.

RESULTS: Seventy-seven patients were enrolled. Among 21 NCSE cases, 17 were adjudicated according to Salzburg criteria (81%) and 4 received NCSE diagnosis according to reference standard. Agreement between EEG and CTP emerged in 16/21 NCSE cases, reaching sublobar level in 37.5% of cases. Receiver operator curve analysis suggested good accuracy for CTP hyperperfusion for the diagnosis of NCSE (AUROC 0.79, 95% CI 0.69 to 0.89). CTP hyperperfusion had a high NPV for NCSE (NPV 0.97, 95% CI 0.86 to 1).

CONCLUSION: CTP hyperperfusion may be implemented in the emergency fast-track to rule out NCSE, given very high NPV. Further validation studies are needed to evaluate CTP application in real-world setting for NCSE codes.

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