FAQ regarding Epilepsy Monitoring Unit

What is Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU)

EMU is a hospital stay where long term Video EEG monitoring is conducted for diagnoses of type of events/ episodes a patient is experiencing.

Long term video EEG monitoring is a diagnostic procedure where EEG and Video are simultaneously recorded for days to assess cerebral functioning and localize seizure generating regions of brain.

On occasions, the events will not have EEG correlates and can be non- epileptic from a variety of causes like heart related, migraine phenomenon, sleep disorder, movement disorder, conversion disorder etc.

Depending on the frequency of your events/ episodes, the stay can last between 2 days to 2 weeks.

The Epileptologist (Doctor who specializes in Seizures/ Epilepsy) will be in charge. The Epileptologist will reading your brain waves and provide you updates on a daily basis. Sometimes, there will be a Neurology trainee along with the Epileptologist. A Nurse and EEG technologist who is experienced in performing EEGs will be part of the team.

NO. You should not discontinue your medications before coming to the hospital due to risk of having seizures before you can make it to the hospital.

Your medications might be slowly weaned off while you are in EMU under the supervision of doctor.

  • Loose fitting shirts, tops with buttons in the front. No pull overs or T-Shirts
  • Personal care items, books, hobbies related material (coloring, puzzles etc)
  • Bring your medical equipment like CPAP Machine.
  • Bring all your medications or write them on a sheet of paper with their doses and times when you take them, so that the physician can confirm your home doses to administer in the hospital.
  • Shower before you come with shampoo, but don’t use conditioner.
  • You cannot shower while you are in the EMU.

Yes, we allow a family member to stay with you. Ideally, who can recognize when you are going to or having a seizure

When you have a seizure in the hospital, you are in a safe environment with immediate nursing seizure care, we minimize any possible injuries with seizure precautions (like padding on side rails of bed, floor mats, rounded corners in room etc). We have an alarm for you or family to activate when you feel like you are going to have a seizure. The nurses respond to these alarms within seconds. If you don’t activate the alarm, we have technologist monitoring you 24/7 on video to alert nurses and physician when you are having seizure.

Overall, the risks of injuries are less when compared to you having a seizure at home unattended. However, sometimes since we are lowering your medications in order to provoke seizures, you may have back to back seizures and we will give to IV medications to abort multiple seizures.

Depending on the diagnoses of your events are:

If Epileptic (generated from your brain) and you are not on medication, we will start you on anti seizure medication. If you are already on a medication and you are still having them, we might add new one or change the current one or adjust doses.

If Non Epileptic (not generated from your brain), depending on the likely cause, we will make appropriate recommendations to your doctor who ordered the test. 

If no events are captured in the monitoring, we might have a discharge plan based on what your EEG recording showed or we will refer back to your physician who ordered the test and you talk about other studies like either a readmission to the EMU when your events are more frequent or Ambulatory EEG or medication trials etc.

We will send a final report and a discharge summary to your Doctor ordering the test within 3 to 5 business days after your discharge.