Status Triphasicus Versus Status Epilepticus?

Manuel M. Bicchi, Ayham Alkhachroum, Andres M. Kanner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


SUMMARY: Generalized periodic patterns with triphasic wave morphology, long referred to as triphasic waves [TWs], had been associated with metabolic encephalopathies, although other neurologic and systemic causes have since been identified. In a recent classification of periodic patterns, TWs were formally grouped with the generalized periodic discharges, which are often associated with ictal activity. The interpretation of generalized periodic patterns with TWs as nonictal can have significant implications in the management of comatose patients in nonconvulsive status epilepticus. Electrographic characteristics that help distinguish nonictal periodic patterns with TWs from generalized periodic discharge ictal patterns include (1) TWs in long runs of periodic bilaterally synchronous and symmetric discharges, maximal in frontocentral or posterior head regions with and without a frontal-to-occipital lag or posterior-to-anterior lag, respectively; (2) recurrent spontaneous and/or low-dose benzodiazepine-induced attenuation and/or suppression of the periodic pattern and replacement with a diffuse slow wave activity throughout a prolonged EEG recording; and (3) stimulation-induced activation and/or increase in frequency and/or organization of TWs. We coined the term of status triphasicus to describe the electrographic periodic pattern of TWs with these three distinct characteristics. In this article, we discuss the advantages and limitations of keeping the status triphasicus pattern as a distinct electrographic entity different from periodic ictal generalized periodic discharge patterns. We discuss the circumstances in which a status triphasicus pattern can be associated with ictal activity and propose a simple pragmatic classification of status triphasicus that encompasses the different clinical scenarios it can be associated with.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)376-383
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of clinical neurophysiology : official publication of the American Electroencephalographic Society
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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