In-Home EEG Studies – Information for Patients

If your physician has ordered an EEG study to be done in your home, here’s what you need to know:

Your physician may order an EEG study for you or a family member

EEG is the abbreviation for electroencephalography. An electroencephalograph is a machine that translates the electrical activity of the brain into a series of wavy lines (a graph) on a computer called the EEG recording.

  • An EEG measures the electrical activity of the brain, sometimes referred to as brain waves.
  • Analysis of the EEG allows your doctor to see one of the many ways that your brain functions.
  • An EEG can determine changes in brain activity that might be useful in diagnosing brain disorders, especially epilepsy or another seizure disorder.
  • EEG is not a treatment of any kind. No electricity is transferred to your brain. The EEG only measures the electrical activity in the brain.  The EEG itself is safe and painless.
  • It can tell us what may be causing your episodes and help with deciding the best treatment for you.
  • The doctor can see seizure activity as well as sleep stages during your EEG.
  • Sometimes EEG studies in the home environment are more useful than in the hospital
Sample of recorded EEG waveforms – 16 seconds, from 19 electrodes on the scalp

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Ambulatory Long-Term Video-EEG Study?

This is a long-term recording of brain activity lasting 1 to 4 days while also recording video to capture what may happen leading up to, during and after you experience any events during the study.  A CortiCare EEG Technologist will attach the EEG recording device to you and set up one or more cameras.  All the brain wave data and video is stored on a computer for both real-time monitoring by our staff and for full review by the physician reading the study afterward.

Why do I need an Ambulatory Video-EEG Study?

Ambulatory EEG studies enables your doctor to observe your EEG over an extended period. Ambulatory video-EEGs, recorded over one to four or more days, can help diagnose if you have seizures and if so, your seizure type. This important information helps your doctor determine the best treatment for you.

How is the study scheduled?

When CortiCare receives the order from your physician for the study, our Coordinator will contact you to schedule the dates for your study.  They will also obtain authorization for the study from your insurance carrier.

How does an Ambulatory EEG work?

A CortiCare EEG technologist will come to your home to setup the study.  They have you sit in a chair while they carefully measure your head and apply small electrode cups with a sticky paste to your scalp. These electrodes pick up very small changes in the electrical activity of your brain (EEG). The EEG is recorded and stored on the battery-powered recorder you will wear during the home study. You will be provided a diary for you to make notes during the study. The EEG recorder on your waist will have a Push Button that needs to be pressed when you have symptoms or a seizure.

What will happen when I am set up for EEG monitoring?

EEG wires with electrodes will be attached to your head with a special glue so that the electrodes will stay on your head for several days. Your head will be wrapped with gauze to protect the electrodes. A video camera will be setup to record you during the study to help capture your events so the doctor can see what happened. A CortiCare technologist will be monitoring your EEG and video remotely to ensure a good recording.

What Activities can I do or not do?

In general, it is best to keep your movements to a minimum during the study. Avoid lots of physical activity to reduce the chance of sweating (which can cause artifact in the signals). You will not be able to shower during the study.

Can I eat during the study?

You may eat your typical meals and foods but please do not eat snacks for long periods. When you are chewing it is hard to see your brain waves. No gum chewing is allowed for this reason. Write your meals and snack times in the diary.

What about medications I am taking?

Usually, you continue to take and use your medications as you normally do.  Your physician may instruct you to stop certain medications during the recording, though this is infrequent.

What happens when the study is complete?

At the end of the recording time (typically 2 to 4 days) the technologist will return to disconnect the EEG recorder and remove the electrodes. The study data and video will be processed and reviewed by our staff and prepared for review by the doctor.

How will I get my results?

Either your physician or one of CortiCare’s board-certified neurophysiologists trained to analyze the EEG will review the study and prepare a detailed report. Your physician will discuss it with you at your next visit.

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