More than 500 patients are admitted to the Stanford Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) each year for seizure evaluation using the latest technologies, including intracranial video-electroencephalogram (EEG). Inpatient video-EEG monitoring involves a longer EEG, together with video and sound recording, extra EEG channels and computerized capture of pathological EEG patterns.
Inpatient intracranial video-EEG monitoring
Inpatient intracranial video-EEG monitoring is used to:
determine whether a condition is epilepsy or a condition that mimics epilepsy.
determine which type of epileptic seizures you are having to help guide your therapy.
determine whether you are having more seizures than you recognize, in order to explain confusion or other troublesome symptoms.
localize where in your brain seizures start in order to determine whether operating on the precise seizure source can treat epileptic seizures intractable to medications.
Information for patients scheduled for admission to the EMU
Each patient is admitted to the EMU for about 3-7 days, depending on seizure frequency.
A relative can stay with you, but this is not required.
You will be monitored continuously with a video camera, while your brain waves are recorded with EEG.
While in the monitoring unit, you can reside in a hospital bed or sit in a chair. Walking around the room is permitted with assistance and precautions to prevent falls from a seizure.
During monitoring, the team performs a variety of evaluations of your medical condition, and stress factors and mood changes that commonly accompany severe seizures. If episodes do not occur spontaneously, the team may try to induce them with medication reduction, sleep deprivation, exercise, flashing lights, hyperventilation (over-breathing), hypnosis or any maneuvers that tend to bring on your seizures.
Seizure medications may be tapered in the hospital to cause seizures for analysis, under highly controlled conditions.
Please do not stop your seizure medications before coming in for monitoring, unless your doctor specifically advises you to do so.
The EEG cable reaches into the bathroom, where you have off-camera privacy.
Bring things to read and do, while waiting for a seizure.
About 1 in 5 people undergo video-EEG monitoring with no episodes. However, some of these individuals have EEG abnormalities picked up by the recording devices, which helps diagnose their episodes. A few people may experience a stay that does not lead to a diagnosis.
Patients with intractable epilepsy
If you are experiencing intractable epilepsy, and the video-EEG monitoring suggests a single source in the brain for your seizures, you may be a good candidate for epilepsy surgery, which offers the best outcome in terms of seizure freedom.
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