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SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

Comprehensive Epilepsy Center

Patient Experience

We are focused on providing a quality experience for our visitors and patients. Below are procedures that explain expectations and preparations.

Admission To The EMU

Your doctor may have asked you to be admitted to the SUNY Downstate Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) for a test called video-EEG monitoring (or V-EEG). As a patient in the EMU you will be cared for by an interdisciplinary epilepsy team including physicians, neuropsychologists, nurses, EEG technologists, dietitians and social workers, working together to provide excellent, comprehensive care.

To read about more information on addmission to the EMU (such as preparation, packing, and what to expect), please visit the webpage for Admission to SUNY Downstate's Epilepsy Monitoring Unit.

Routine EEG

During an EEG a technologist will attach electrodes ("wires") to your scalp using a special paste or other application material after carefully measuring your head for placement. The test itself is painless and safe. You will be asked to lie still during the recording. You may be asked to breathe rapidly (hyperventilate) and/or to look at flashing lights during the recording. If you feel sleepy you will be encouraged to doze during the recording. The test usually takes about 1 ½ hours. After the test is complete, the technologist will remove the electrodes and clean your scalp.

Ambulatory EEG (During the Ambulatory EEG)

On the day your test is scheduled, a technologist will attach electrodes ("wires") to your scalp using a glue-like substance known as collodion, after carefully measuring your head for placement. Your head will then be wrapped in gauze (like a turban) to secure the electrodes in place. The electrodes will be plugged into a special recording device which is placed in a pouch you can wear over your shoulder and take home. The test itself is painless. Wearing a button down shirt on the first day of the test, will make changing your clothes easier once the study is recording for you will not be able to shower or wash your hair until the study ends

If you feel that you are about to have a seizure, or that you had a seizure you should push the “event” button attached to the recording device. It is very important that you push the event button even if you only suspect that you had a seizure or an aura. You will also be provided with a log or diary on which you should write down both when and why you pushed the event button. This will inform the doctor reading your study that you may have had a seizure, and what occurred during it.

During your recording you can eat normal meals. Please do not chew gum or eat crunchy snacks like pretzels or chips. This will also interfere with the ambulatory EEG recording for it generates “noise” on the recording which makes interpretation of your results difficult.