Seizures happen when the normal electrical activity in the brain becomes disorganized. Depending on several factors this disorganized brain activity can manifest itself as anything from smelling strange odors to loss of speech to convulsions.
An Electroencephalogram or EEG is a painless test during which electrodes (wires) are placed on the scalp to record the brain’s electrical activity. Including preparation the test lasts about 40 minutes and coupled with interpretation by an experienced Epileptologist, and EEG can be a helpful diagnostic tool.
Ambulatory EEG monitoring is an outpatient study that is similar to a routine EEG except it lasts much longer. The patient comes into the EEG lab to have the electrodes placed on the scalp. After that, the patient goes home with a portable EEG machine that fits into a small backpack or fanny pack. After 24-72 the patient returns to have the electrodes removed. Due to the longer duration, Ambulatory EEGs are much more likely to capture any events that the patient is having when compared to a routine EEG.
This inpatient study uses an Audiovisual EEG monitor which combines an EEG machine that continuously records the patient’s brain waves and a video camera that records the patient’s clinical events. This powerful tool helps correlate brain activity with what the patient is doing or experiencing. This is helpful in making an initial diagnosis, monitoring effectiveness of medications or during medication changes.