OBJECTIVE: Increased Motor Evoked Potential (MEP) polyphasia was recently described in idiopathic/genetic generalized epilepsy (IGE). Here, we studied the association of MEP polyphasia with treatment response and other clinical characteristics in patients with IGE.
METHODS: MEPs were recorded from the biceps brachii, flexor carpi radialis and interosseus dorsalis muscles bilaterally during tonic contraction in IGE patients (n = 72) and historical controls (n = 54) after single pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation. Detailed clinical data was available for all IGE patients; predefined endpoint was the association of MEP polyphasia with treatment response.
RESULTS: The mean number of phases was higher in the interosseus dorsalis muscle (2.33 vs. 2.13, p = 0.002) in IGE patients as compared to normal controls, as was the proportion of MEPs with more than two phases in at least one test (59.4% vs. 30%, p < 0.002). MEP polyphasia did not differ between IGE patients and controls in the biceps brachii or the flexor carpi radialis muscles and was not associated with treatment response. Extensive exploratory analyses unveiled fewer phases under valproic acid treatment (p = 0.04) but no additional associations of MEP polyphasia in the interosseous muscle with other clinical characteristics.
CONCLUSION: MEP polyphasia is a subclinical symptom of IGE patients but is not associated with treatment response or other routinely assessed clinical characteristics.
SIGNIFICANCE: MEP polyphasia is a fixed feature of IGE not modified by clinical variables.