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If you are experiencing headaches, dizziness, seizures, confusion, stroke loss of consciousness or have suffered a traumatic head injury, WakeMed offers a diagnostic test – an electroencephalogram – that can give your doctor valuable information about your problem. An EEG test is used to record brain activity from electrodes that are strategically placed on a patient’s scalp.

Performed as an outpatient procedure, an EEG is an excellent diagnostic tool used to show effects from trauma in the brain, certain brain infections, brain function or loss of function in a particular region, as well as oxygen impairment to the brain.

Learn what to expect from an electroencephalogram EEGs may be performed as routine, sleep deprived, ambulatory or long-term with video monitoring.

Routine EEG:
Total test time (includes preparation, test, and clean-up) is approximately 90 minutes based on physician order.

  • Technician strategically places electrodes on the patient’s scalp with a special paste.
  • The patient remains awake and comfortable throughout the test; patient may fall asleep.
  • Technologist may ask the patient to take a series of deep breaths.
  • Technologist may ask the patient to stare briefly at a flashing bright strobe light.
  • Test results are released to the referring physician who will review them with the patient.

Sleep-Deprived EEG:
This test uses the same procedures for a routine EEG, except the patient needs to be sleep deprived based on their physician’s order. For example, adults must stay awake after midnight, and children must stay awake two hours later than regular bedtime and get up two hours earlier than normal prior to testing. The recording made during sleep is helpful in diagnosing certain conditions.

Ambulatory EEG:

  • This is a longer-term study and requires a 24 to 48 hour testing time, based on physician order. Technician strategically places electrodes on the patient’s scalp with a special glue-like substance and wraps the patient’s head so that the patient may move around freely.
  • The patient returns home and is instructed to keep a diary of events.
  • The patient then returns to the neurodiagnostic department for electrode removal and return of diary and equipment.
  • Technologist informs physician that study results are available for interpretation.
  • Patient receives results from referring physician.

Long-Term Video Monitoring (LTVM):
This test is the most accurate in diagnosing seizures in young patients. The exam is usually recommended when:

  • Seizures are infrequent, unpredictable, and subtle or the type is uncertain
  • There is uncertainty if the event is actually a seizure
  • The seizures have not responded to treatment
  • There has been a change in the child’s mental state

LTVM records the electrical activity in the brain while also videotaping the patient. Performed at WakeMed Raleigh Campus, patients are admitted to the hospital for one or more days. Parents or a caregiver must stay with the child during the entire hospitalization to assist with the test.
This test is also performed on infants and premature babies to gain a better understanding of brain activity.
Learn what to expect from a LTVM

  • Your child will be admitted to WakeMed’s Children Hospital for one or more days, as recommended by the referring physician.
  • EEG wires are connected to the child’s head, which is then wrapped in gauze to help keep them in place. Every day, wires will be remotely checked and replaced if necessary for good recordings.

Activating procedures like Hyperventilation and Photic stimulation, using a strobe light may be performed if necessary

  • A parent or caregiver will remain onsite to help with the test.

The adult staying with the child will be responsible for pushing a button on the computer each time a seizure is observed or suspected. Additionally, the parent/caregiver will keep a log of each suspected seizure, including the symptoms and start and stop time of the event.

  • The child must remain in view of the camera at all times, but will have private access to a bathroom.
  • Remember to bring books, video games, movies, school work and games that will keep your child occupied during their hospitalization. Bring your child’s most comfortable clothes/pajamas – preferably ones that button up the front - so that they feel at home.
  • Bring all of your child’s prescription medications and a list of past medications and doses so that we have a complete record of their medication history.
  • After the test, it is helpful to first use baby oil on the child’s scalp prior to shampooing their hair to remove any remaining glue from the electrodes.
  • Test results will be reviewed and sent to your child’s referring physician for interpretation.

EEGs and LTVMs are performed in the WakeMed Neurodiagnostic Lab at our Raleigh campus, located on the 1st floor in the Medical Office Building.

For information about EEG or LTVM studies, please call: 919-350-3734.

If you are a physician referring a patient for an EEG or LTVM, please call our patient schedule line at 919-350-7000.




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