Long-Term Video EEG Monitoring
Long-term video EEG monitoring is used to evaluate a child’s brain activity and behavioral activity for an extended period of time. This long-term video EEG monitoring is crucial for determining a child’s epilepsy syndrome and seizure types, as well as pinpointing where seizures come from and how they spread to other areas of the brain. If a specific area in the brain is involved consistently, then that area is likely to be the site of seizure origin.
Epilepsy Monitoring Units
We offer two state-of-the-art Epilepsy Monitoring Units (EMU). Our EMU at CHOC Children’s Orange includes eight private rooms, as well as five portable monitoring systems that can be used in any area of the hospital. The EMU at CHOC Children’s at Mission Hospital offers four private inpatient rooms. Both EMUs are staffed 24/7 by our registered EEG technologists to monitor patients around the clock. We also have full-time pediatric epileptologists who can access the EEG data remotely at any time. This technology is also used in other hospital units, including the cardiovascular intensive care unit, the neurocritical neonatal intensive care unit and the CHOC Mission NICU to monitor brain activity.
During this evaluation, your child will stay with us in the hospital for several days, with a reduction in their anti-epileptic medications. The goal is to capture several of the child’s typical seizures. If your child is having long term video EEG monitoring done, he or she will wear an EEG transmitter, which is connected to a wall outlet. The transmitter includes up to 40 electrodes that are painlessly attached to your child’s scalp using a special paste. Your child’s head is then wrapped in gauze to secure the electrodes in place. Our child life specialists can be on hand to help your child through the process, using calming and distraction techniques. Wall-mounted infrared video cameras will also record your child during long-term video EEG monitoring. Both recordings are transmitted digitally so a physician can monitor them, even from another location. Your child can move about and do normal activities like napping, talking and watching TV.
In some cases, if your child is having epilepsy surgery, your child’s doctor may use intracranial long-term monitoring to pinpoint the seizure focus. This more invasive procedure involves placing electrodes directly on the surface of the brain. Learn more about intracranial monitoring.
Making a Diagnosis
Based on the results of the diagnostic evaluation, our pediatric epileptologists can determine the type of seizures and epilepsy syndrome, as well as make individualized treatment recommendations for your child – or rule out epilepsy as a diagnosis altogether. Learn more about our treatments for epilepsy and our Comprehensive Epilepsy Program.
Preparing for Long-Term Video EEG Monitoring
• Loose shirts for your child that button down the front, such as pajama tops. Please don’t bring T-shirts.
• Books, toys, movies or a laptop/tablet to entertain your child during their stay. Free WiFi is available.
• Any medication and vitamins/supplements your child is currently taking, unless otherwise specified by your child’s doctor. Your child’s nurse will administer all approved medication during their stay.
Continue your child’s normal diet unless otherwise instructed. If your child has specific dietary requirements, please inform us when you schedule your child’s hospitalization. Be sure to bathe your child and wash his or her hair prior to their visit. Please do not use hair products or apply lotion, makeup or perfume.
An adult must stay with your child at all times. If the primary guardian must leave for a short period of time, a staff member can be called to stay with your child until they return. If the adult must leave for a long period, please arrange for another adult to stay with your child who is familiar with your child and his or her seizures. No siblings or visitors may stay overnight.
We rely on the child’s parent or guardian to push a monitoring button anytime a seizure or questionable activity occurs. This will help your child’s neurologist identify activity that you’re concerned about. Your child’s room is equipped with a video camera so that our technologists can monitor for seizures. Please keep your child in view of the camera at all times, and do not block the camera’s view during a seizure. It is very important for our neurologists to see your child’s face during the seizure. If possible, remove blankets so the doctor can see your child’s leg and arm movements as well.
All food and drinks will be provided for your child. For a small fee, parents/adults can choose food from the menu and have it delivered to your child’s room.