Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU)

If your epileptic seizures are not responding adequately to the medicines you take, ask your doctor if a monitoring study could help you. If you're a candidate for epilepsy surgery, a monitoring study might also be beneficial. A monitoring study provides a detailed analysis of brain activity over a longer period of time. It allows your doctor to look for details that can lead to new treatment options. 

  • You’ll have a private room in our dedicated EMU for five to seven days. 
  • Your room will have a microphone and special video equipment to track your seizure activity. 
  • Electrodes will be placed on your head, but you can move around your room. 
  • Our epilepsy team will track and record your brain activity continuously, around the clock. 
  • We may change your medications or introduce stressors such as light, sound or less sleep to induce seizure activity so that we can record its impact. 

At all times while you are in the EMU, our team of epilepsy doctors, nurses and EEG technologists are actively monitoring your condition so you'll be safe. You are in a comfortable setting, able to communicate with us at any time. Together, we will track your condition, gain new insight and pursue every possible treatment to minimize seizure activity. With some of the top epileptologists in the country on our team, answers are here.

Understanding the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit

Our programs and services

What you can expect

Prior to your stay
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Please wash your hair because you may not shower or wash it during the recording period. However, you can take bedside sponge baths and a shower at the end of your stay.

Upon admission
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EEG electrodes will be placed on your scalp to record your brain waves. This EEG recording, along with the audio and video recording, will continue 24 hours a day while you are here. You will also have electrodes placed on your chest to monitor your heart rhythm.

While you are here
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You cannot leave your room. We realize that this can be difficult and may contribute to boredom and possibly anxiety. Please bring in things to help pass the time such as puzzles, books, magazines, DVDs, card games and/or handheld computer games. You and your family should use the supplied clipboard to write down any unusual feelings or warning signs associated with your seizures. Please push the “event” button to notify our staff if you think you are having, or are about to have, a seizure.

To increase the chance that you will have a seizure, your antiseizure medication(s) may be reduced or discontinued, or you may need to stay awake all night to see if sleep deprivation will cause a seizure. Let your doctor or nurse know if there is anything else that makes your seizures more likely to occur.

Because you could experience a seizure at any time, you must call your nurse before getting out of your bed or up from a chair in order to prevent falls and injury. Your nurse will also need to accompany you to the bathroom.

Following your stay
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A follow-up appointment will be scheduled with your epileptologist or neurologist to discuss the monitoring study findings with you and your family, as well as the next steps in your treatment plan.

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