If you are a new patient, you will receive an initial evaluation from one of our specially trained providers in epilepsy:
- Attending neurologists
- APNP (Advance Practice Nurse Practioner)
You may also meet with one of our fellow neurologists who are trained in neurology and are getting more training in epilepsy.
After your initial evaluation, we may order various tests. The tests help us to understand the cause of your seizures and determine the best treatment for you. The tests also help us more clearly define your epilepsy.
Testing may include the following:
- Routine EEG: An outpatient test that is done at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) EEG lab. Electrodes get placed on your head, and brain waves get recorded. This test typically lasts 90 minutes.
- Ambulatory EEG: A prolonged home-based EEG (Electroencephalogram) test designed to record brain waves for 24, 48, or 72 hours. The EEG wires get placed on the person's head at the DHMC EEG lab, and then they go home. They return days later to get the electrodes removed. The test may include a video camera.
- 3 Tesla MRI of the brain with epilepsy protocol: An outpatient test where we take a detailed picture of your brain. This test lasts up to 60-90 minutes.
- Video EEG monitoring: A hospital-based test that requires admission to DHMC for 7 days (average 5-7 days). We admit you to our Epilepsy Monitoring Unit. This specialized unit is where we safely and gradually lower your seizure medications. We record your seizures using various specialized equipment, including EEG, video, and heart monitoring.
Once we have determined your type of epilepsy, we will provide you with the appropriate treatment. Certain people with epilepsy may continue to have seizures despite using anti-seizure medications. These people may be diagnosed with refractory epilepsy.