Epilepsy Monitoring Unit

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Epilepsy and Seizure Monitoring: Frequently Asked Questions


WHY DO I NEED THIS TYPE OF RECORDING?

Epilepsy brain activityA routine EEG lasts about half an hour. It gives us a “Snapshot” of the brain’s activity during that particular recording period. It may not give us enough information to help you with your seizure problem. Our recording has three parts:

1. VIDEO: A camera will record all your physical activity while your brain waves are being recorded on the EEG. By videotaping your seizures we can see exactly what happens before, during, and after one of your events. This allows us a more accurate picture of your seizures.

2. EEG RECORDING: You will also have a continuous EEG recording. This will allow us to detect any seizure activity that occurs, even if you are not aware it is happening. The EEG helps us decide in what portion of your brain your seizures begin, and gives us information about your brain wave activity between seizures. It also will help us decide if your seizures are due to epilepsy or some other cause.

3. AUDIO: Please be aware that there are also microphones in the room to help us fully capture exactly what happens during your seizure.


WHY CAN’T I HAVE THESE TESTS AT MY LOCAL HOSPITAL?

This Epilepsy Monitoring Unit evaluation with state of the art continuous video-EEG monitoring is highly specialized and is available only in hospitals employing epilepsy specialists. Our staff of EEG technologists and nurses is very experienced in caring for people with seizures. Our doctors have advanced training in EEG interpretation and epilepsy treatment. We feel our EMU offers you the best chance for receiving a comprehensive and expert evaluation of your seizure disorder.


WHAT COULD WE FIND?

This complex testing is to evaluate the cause of the events you are experiencing. Your doctor has asked for this testing to determine what would be the best treatment for you and this testing will provide valuable information to make those decisions. We may find that your events are caused by epileptic seizures and find clues as to where in the brain the seizures are coming from. However, sometimes patients are found to have something different from epileptic seizures. In spite of the vigorous tests, sometimes we cannot tell you definitively about the diagnosis if we were not able to capture the typical seizure or event, however; this is not a common occurrence. In fact, most patients that are admitted to the EMU do have at least one seizure or event occur, and sometimes we are able to obtain a diagnosis even if the patient does not have any events.


WHEN WILL I GET THE RESULTS OF MY TESTS?

We will talk to you about your testing before you go home. In spite of the tests, sometimes we cannot tell definitively about what your spells are if we were not able to capture your typical seizure or event. Also, some epileptic seizures may not be visible on the scalp EEG.

We also will tell you if we think you will need any more tests or need to see any other doctors. Your local doctor will receive a report of our testing shortly after you go home.


WHAT TO BRING FOR YOUR MONITORING ADMISSION:

1. You will be able to wear your own shorts, pants, or sweat suit bottoms. It is important not to disturb the electrodes. You need to wear tops that button or zip down the front or back and can be removed without pulling them over your head.

We can give you “tie in the back” hospital gowns. Please bring your slippers, bath robe, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, dental floss, shaver, and deodorant with you. You can also bring makeup.

2. Video EEG telemetry can become very boring. Bring along some things that will help you pass the time. Books, magazines, puzzles, games, cards, cassette/CD players or DVD players are types of things you may bring. You may bring a portable laptop computer. However, it may cause some artifact on EEG. If this is the case, then we will ask you to turn off the electronics. Cell phone use is allowed in your room.

3. We will provide the medicines you need during your admission. However, please bring all of your medicine bottles with you (both prescription and over-the-counter) so we can see what you are taking. If you take a special medicine that would be hard to get, please tell us. We will either arrange to get it here or ask you to bring it with you.

4. We will provide meals for the patient, but the family member will need to provide their own food. You can feel free to bring non-perishable food from home (granola bars, crackers, etc). There is also a cafeteria in the hospital.

5. You can bring your own pillow, comforter, stuffed animal, or family photos to help you feel more comfortable.

DO NOT BRING:

Do not bring electrical appliances such as hair dryers, electric razors, space heaters or coffee makers. Larger radios with plug in and TVs are also not allowed due to the electrical safety rules of the hospital. Please do not bring frozen food or any food requiring refrigerator or microwaves.


OTHER SERVICES AT UTMB JOHN SEALY HOSPITAL:

Chaplain: Services of the hospital chaplain are available to all patients and their families. Your personal clergy person is also welcome to visit. The Chapel is on the 1st floor of the hospital. Family members can visit the chapel, but patients cannot leave the room.

Parking: Your guests can park your car in the visitor’s deck overnight and the usual rate is $14 per day. You will receive one parking token at the end of your stay. This will allow you out of the parking garage at no cost to you. A free parking lot is also located on 4th street behind Walgreens. There is a shuttle from the parking lot to the hospital.

Accommodations: Only one family member/guest is allowed to stay in the patient’s room overnight. A reclining hospital chair/cot is available for your guest. We can provide you with a list of local motels if other family members or friends wish to stay near the hospital while you are here.


A WORD ABOUT INSURANCE:

We have hospital staff that work on getting a pre-authorization for your admission, and we make every effort prior to your admission to get this completed. However, ultimately it is your responsibility to make sure the authorization is in place before you come into the hospital. We recommend that you contact your insurance company at least one day prior to the admission to check on any problems that may occur, and to get an idea of what out-of-pocket expenses you may be responsible for. Please note that some of the hospital charges may not be covered by your insurance plan. The hospital has financial advisors to help if you need it. Please contact the hospital’s financial advisors ahead of time if you feel it is necessary.

Please feel free to contact the epilepsy coordinator at 409-772-1450 with any questions you have about your admission.

Call for assistance day or night 409-772-2222

Visit the Health Library for more information on Epilepsy

Epilepsy Monitoring Unit

John Sealy Hospital, 9th Floor
8th and Market St.
Galveston, Texas 77555

(409) 772-1450

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