Monitoring Unit for Epilepsy
Cedars-Sinai provides inpatient evaluation and treatment for patients with severe epilepsy or other uncontrolled seizures in its Epilepsy Monitoring Unit. Patients with seizures that are not responding to medication may require specialized evaluation and treatment.
Patients are usually referred for inpatient treatment of their seizures
- To determine the type of seizures they are having, and if they are epileptic seizures
- To explore whether there are surgical options, or to learn more about what is causing a patient's seizures prior to surgery
- To make medication changes in the safest possible environment
We also evaluate and treat patients suspected of having nonepileptic seizures or pseudo seizures, new onset seizure disorder, cardiac episodes and a history of febrile seizures as small infants.
We are a certified level 4 epilepsy center, under the guidelines provided by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers. We provide the most advanced forms of neurodiagnostic monitoring and treatment. We offer complete evaluation for epilepsy and a full range of treatment options, including surgical procedures.
How We Monitor Seizures
Patients usually stay in the unit for five to seven days. During that time, they are monitored in two ways:
- Electroencephalogram (EEG): About 20 small electrodes are attached to the scalp to record the electrical activity in the brain. Epileptic seizures are caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain. The EEG can record this activity, providing information to determine the type of seizure and where in the brain the seizures are occurring. This can guide treatment, including providing specific information for surgical interventions.
The EEG can also help rule out epilepsy, as other types of seizures are not caused by electrical activity in the brain
- Video monitoring: This ensures that clinicians will be able to see the physical symptoms of the seizure, which can be important in diagnosis and in determining the best course of treatment.
Questions monitoring may answer
We monitor and, in some patients, safely induce seizures to collect the data that can guide treatment and answer the following questions:
- Will the seizures respond well to medication?
- Do they begin in one area of the right or left hemisphere of the brain, or do they arise from both sides?
- Are all the seizures the same?
- Do they have the same clinical and brainwave pattern characteristics?
What to expect during your stay
- Electrodes will be attached to the scalp with adhesive, so hair must be clean and free of products.
- The adhesive used will be fairly strong to allow patients to be able to get out of bed if needed without the electrodes being displaced.
- Patients may be asked to stay awake, either to trigger a seizure or increase the likelihood of a seizure occurring.
- Patients must stay in bed during testing, both for safety and to allow the seizure to be captured on video.
- Other tests may be done while the patient is in the hospital, such as MRI and other tests.
- While the electrodes are in place, they must stay dry, so patients will not be able to shower.
- Our rooms have accommodation for family members or other care partners to stay with you. They can also be an asset to your treatment by providing additional information about your seizures to the medical staff.
Preparing for your stay
- Hair should be clean, without styling products, hairspray, braids or hair extensions to allow the electrodes to stick to the scalp.
- Patients can wear their own clothes in the unit, but all shirts must be button-down or zip-front.
- Patients will have an IV or catheter so medications can be given quickly and efficiently in case of emergency.