Electroencephalography (EEG) is used by neurologists to evaluate for epileptic seizures and sometimes other brain disorders as well. In this diagnostic procedure, small, flat metal discs (electrodes) are placed on your scalp to detect the electrical activity in your brain. Brain cells or neurons communicate via electrical impulses. These impulses generate brain waves that show up as wavy lines on an EEG recording. This diagnostic test may play an important role in evaluating for a seizure disorder as well as other brain disorders. If this procedure is ordered by your doctor, you may be given instructions for sleep deprivation to enhance the detection of a seizure disorder. Similarly, photic stimulation and rapid breathing (hyperventilation) may be used during EEG to help detect certain EEG patterns.
A routine clinical EEG recording typically lasts 30-40 minutes (plus preparation time). It is a painless procedure. Routine EEG is typically used in the following clinical circumstances:
- to distinguish epileptic seizures from other types of spells, such as non-epileptic seizures, syncope (fainting), sub-cortical movement disorders and migraine variants
- to differentiate amongst different epileptic seizure types
- to further evaluate encephalopathy or delirium
- to prognosticate
- to determine whether to wean anti-epileptic medications
Prolonged EEG with video
Prolonged EEG with video refers to continuous EEG recorded for a prolonged period with a simultaneous video recording of the clinical manifestations. This procedure allows the neurologist to obtain more complete data, and the neurologist is able to correlate the recorded behavior (video) with the EEG activity. This technology allows an individual’s seizure disorder to be better classified and can help optimize treatment. The EEG-video system can be connected and set up for use at home, providing a cost-effective, comfortable and convenient option compared with inpatient EEG monitoring at a hospital.