Putting the Pieces Together
Epilepsy is a neurological condition which affects the nervous system. Epilepsy is also known as a seizure disorder. It is usually diagnosed after a person has had at least two seizures that were not caused by some known medical condition. Diagnosing seizures and epilepsy is like putting the pieces of a puzzle together. The “pieces” are information from many different people and test results.
First, your doctor will confirm whether or not you’ve had a seizure. If you have definitely experienced a seizure, the type will need to be determined. This may require:
- A detailed medical history
- Blood tests
- EEG tests
- Brain imaging tests, like CT and MRI scans
- The timing of each step may vary, since each person is different
EEG tests and brain imaging tests give information about the electrical activity in your brain, what your brain looks like, and what might be causing your seizures. Sometimes a test may be ordered more than once to make sure it’s accurate. If you start to have new symptoms, or if your seizures are not responding to treatment, it might be time to take another look at your diagnosis. (Source: Epilepsy Foundation)
The Care You Need Close to Home
The GHS Neuroscience Institute Epilepsy Program provides comprehensive care devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of neurology-related conditions. For epilepsy, the program provides adult and pediatric patients with unmatched capabilities for the diagnosis and treatment of seizures and specialized services so that patients can get the care they need close to home.
Part of that special care includes a dedicated Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU). This 4-bed unit located in Greenville Memorial Hospital, allows extended monitoring of seizure activity for adult and pediatric patients.
- 24/7 coverage by specialized staff for epilepsy monitoring provides ongoing seizure information in real-time
- Continual digital monitoring (EEG and video) for accurate diagnoses of seizure type, length and origin
- Extended monitoring ensures seizures are captured (only about 30% of seizures are found in a single EEG)
- Extended monitoring helps pinpoint where seizures are occurring and rule out non-epileptic seizures
- Level 4 certification for epilepsy, the only one in our area
Patients who suffer from seizures and are difficult to diagnose and manage, or those being evaluated for epilepsy surgery, are those most likely to be admitted to the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit. Treatment options for epilepsy include medication, surgical and vagal nerve stimulator programming and placement.
How May We Help You?
- Epilepsy and seizures can develop in any person at any age
- 1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy in their lifetime
- Factors such as other health conditions, age, and race may make developing epilepsy and seizures more likely.