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What Is an EEG or Video EEG?

An Electroencephalogram (EEG) or Video EEG (vEEG) is a safe and non-invasive diagnostic test performed in both outpatient and inpatient settings. Our neurologists use EEG/vEEG to observe real-time brain function, aiding in the diagnosis, classification, and treatment of various neurological conditions in children.

Common Reasons for an EEG/VEEG Include:

  • Seizures
  • Developmental or behavioral changes
  • Head injuries

How to Prepare Your Child for an EEG or Video EEG

To ensure a successful appointment, please follow these guidelines, which can be adjusted based on your child's individual needs.

As of 11/7/22 Gillette will no longer require pre-admission COVID-19 PCR testing if the patient is asymptomatic* at the time of admission.  All patients and visitors will continue to be screened for the following symptoms upon arrival, during the registration process: 

  • Fever and/or chills 
  • Cough 
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing 
  • Fatigue 
  • Muscle or body aches 
  • Headache that is severe 
  • New loss of taste and/or loss of smell 
  • Sore throat 
  • Congestion or runny nose 
  • Nausea and/or Vomiting and/or Diarrhea 

If the patient is experiencing any of the above new or worsening symptoms, they will be tested for COVID 19 upon arrival to the inpatient unit and remain under isolation precautions. 

In addition, patients will be screened for the following symptoms IF they will be undergoing any Aerosol Generating Procedure, Surgery or Sedated MRI: 

  • Fever 
  • Oxygen requirement over baseline 
  • Wheezing and/or Stridor 
  • Increased work of breathing (breathing fast, nasal flaring, grunting, retracting) 
  • Fatigue/Lethargy 
  • Use of yellow or red zone treatment plan 
  • COVID positive on any test or any diagnosis of pneumonia in the last 21 days 

If the patient is experiencing any of these symptoms, Gillette will contact ordering providers/surgeon/anesthesia directly to determine the urgency of the scheduled service.  If deemed non-urgent, Gillette will cancel procedure/surgery/sedated MRI and reschedule for 21 days or more after symptom onset.  Gillette strongly recommends the patient obtain a provider visit and COVID PCR testing if still with active symptoms.  Providers may also choose to test for other illnesses such as RSV and Influenza. Provider visit and testing is not required for reschedule, but strongly recommended for patient’s health and safety. 

*Asymptomatic VEEG admission patients will be tested if they have had a known high risk COVID exposure from a close contact from their household, community, or visitor per CDC recommendations. 

  • Some EEG/vEEGs require that the patient be asleep during the test. Here are some tips to help your child to sleep during the test: 
  • Keep your child up 1-2 hours past their normal bedtime and wake them 1-2 hours before their normal wake-up time or if possible, even earlier. 
  • Depending on your appointment time, consider withholding a morning or afternoon nap. 
  • Arrive with hair clean and dry. Please do not use any leave-in hair products such as gels, oils, or conditioners as these can make it difficult for us to get a good connection with the leads that we place on their scalp. 
  • Eat typical breakfast food, avoid excessive caffeine or sugar (including sodas, chocolate, or candy) within 12 hours of the test  
  • Take all the usual medications, unless you are told otherwise by the health care provider who prescribed those medications.  
  • Plan for a parent or caregiver to accompany patient during the entire EEG/vEEG process. This helps ensure any events, spells, or movements of concern occur they are recorded and documented.  
  • Do NOT give any sedatives (sleeping medicine) within 24 hours of the test.  
  • Stay awake on the way to the appointment.  
  • Any devices, equipment, personal care, or specialized nutrition items your child may need 
  • Any comfort items that may help your child relax, such as a bottle, pacifier, soothing sensory items, favorite blanket, or stuffed animal, etc. 

If Your Child is Scheduled to Stay Overnight Please Include

  • All medicines your child normally takes, or an up-to-date, detailed medication list 
  • Activities to keep busy, such as favorite books, games, crafts, movies, homework, etc. (We do have resources available to help your patient have fun and keep busy as well, if needed). 
  • Comfortable clothing, including a button-up shirt, if possible. While hooked up to the EEG monitor, it will be difficult to pull clothing over your child’s head. 

What happens during an EEG or Video EEG?

Small round discs, called electrodes, are placed on your child’s scalp to record the electrical impulses of the brain. These electrical impulses help the brain communicate with the body. The recorded impulses are displayed on a computer screen in a grid or pattern resembling what we call “brain waves.” In addition to monitoring the electrical activity in the brain, we also record video and audio to monitor behaviors and body movements. Note: The video can follow the patient around the room but does not record in the bathroom. 

Electrode Application 

  1. Before applying the electrodes, we will have your child sit in a chair or lay in the bed 
  2. The EEG technologist will measure and mark where the electrodes will go, and then prepare each location with a mild exfoliating soap 
  3. The technologist will apply the small disc electrodes to the scalp using glue or paste  
  4. The head is wrapped with a soft gauze wrap to keep electrodes secure 

Sometimes children with sensory processing difficulties find these tests challenging. Please let the EEG technologist know anything you think might help distract or comfort your child during their vEEG recording.  

You are an important part of the EEG/vEEG. We rely on you to help us document spells, events, or movements of concern during the test.  

When you recognize that your child is having a spell, event, or movement of concern, we ask that you: 

Push the “event” button given to you by the EEG technologist 

Uncover your child and remove any obstructions from the camera view 

Say aloud any symptoms you are observing. Try to keep in mind how long the event has been going on so you can let nursing staff know when they enter the room 

Keep your child facing the camera as much as possible, even in sleep 

Avoid giving your child gum or hard candy during the test 

Help ensure your child does not pull off EEG electrodes 

If your child’s spells seem most likely to occur during certain activities, it is important to engage your child in those activities during the test 

If your child’s spells include staring spells, time spent watching TV and playing video games are limited to 20 minutes every three hours 

During routine, outpatient  EEGs and VEEGs, your child will need to remain in the bed. During longer inpatient monitoring, your child will be able to move around as usual with some limitations due to the EEG equipment.  


How long does an EEG take?

EEGs, referred to as routine EEGs, are scheduled for two hours and record one hour. Outpatient V/EEG’s range from 2-7hrs in duration, while Extended VEEG’s requires staying in the hospital and range from 24 to 48 hours or more. 

Sometimes, when the initial EEG or VEEG results are normal, the provider may want to pursue a longer VEEG recording.  


Locations where Gillette Children's Performs EEGs

EEG/vEEGs are performed at either the Phalen clinic (PGC) or main Saint Paul (STP) campus.  


Your EEG Care Team at Gillette Children's

Your EEG/VEEG is performed by one of our experienced technologists, who specialize in a variety of neurodiagnostic tests. 

Through every part of your child’s journey, we offer support and services to help make the process as comfortable as possible. Our child-friendly atmosphere offers Child Life Specialists to provide positive distractions and coping tools as needed during the EEG/vEEG. During inpatient stays, we also offer music and pet therapy.  

Please do not hesitate to call us at 651-726-2885 for any clarification or questions you may have.