Children and Electroencephalography
An adult pattern is usually not fully developed until the age of 15 years. Therefore, the EEG changes during development making interpretation more difficult. Normal background patterns are usually established between the ages of 6-8, and for this reason, Oxford Neurology Clinic only records from children younger than age 8 on a case-by-case basis.
Specialized EEG Tests
Strobe Lighting: This aspect of EEG testing may help to identify these people who have seizures triggered by flickering or strobe lights.
Sleep deprived EEG: Sleep deprivation increases the likelihood that an abnormality will be recorded. Therefore, you may be given specific directions on limiting sleep to 5-6 hours and avoiding caffeine consumption on the day of your test. It is done in the same way as the normal test, but this protocol makes it easier for you to become drowsy and even fall asleep during the EEG.
Ambulatory EEG : These are ordered much less frequently than a routine EEG. Electrodes will be applied in a fashion similar to the routine test, but the wires will be connected to a pack that straps like a purse or backpack over your shoulder and it is worn at home for 2-3 days. Specific directions about keeping a diary of symptoms/events and sleep times will be provided by the technician. It is very important to keep accurate times and descriptions of symptoms so the interpreting physician can look very closely at the EEG during these events. Typically, an ambulatory EEG is used when the routine EEG is not helpful, the patient does not respond to treatment, or the type of spell may not be epileptic in origin.
Video-telemetry : This is an extension of the above tests ordered to correlate video recording of your activity during a seizure with the patterns observed on the EEG. You may be sent to a special epilepsy center to have this testing done if you have not responded to treatment or other testing does not fully answer the question as to what type of seizures you are having. Video EEG is also an integral part of assessing whether brain surgery is appropriate to consider as a treatment of epilepsy that does not respond to medications.
What should I do to prepare for an EEG?
- Hair: make sure your hair is clean and do not use hair oil, cream, or spray before your test. Do not wear hair pieces, braids, dreads, tracks, etc. Hair needs to be down, natural, clean and dry. Not following these instructions can make the test inaccurate and may have to be repeated.
- Sleep: no more than 4 hours total of sleep before the test. For example: if you normally go to sleep at 10 you must be up by 2am and stay awake until after the test.
- NO CAFFEINE SUCH AS COFFEE, TEA, CHOCOLATE, SODAS SUCH AS COKE, PEPSI, MOUNTAIN DEW, ETC.