The goal of a video electroencephalogram (EEG) is to monitor brain waves, not only when children are having “spells,” but also when they are not. EEGs help us diagnose the type of spell your child is having.

In addition to using EEG monitoring equipment, we aim a camera at the patient to record behaviors and/or body movements that might indicate spells are occurring.

Depending on how long we plan to monitor your child, a video EEG might require an inpatient hospital stay. During the test, video and audio recording take place continuously in the patient’s room. (We don’t record in the bathroom.)

What You Need to Know

  1. Shampoo your child’s hair the night before the test. Don’t use hairspray or oils.
  2. Follow sleep deprivation instructions, if you received them.
  3. Before coming to the Gillette, make sure your child eats breakfast and takes all usual medicines, unless you’re told otherwise by the health care provider who prescribed those medicines.
  4. When you arrive at Gillette, report directly to the check-in area. (For clinic location addresses, see the upper left side of this handout.)
  5. Plan for a parent, legal guardian or caregiver to be with your child at all times during the stay at Gillette.
  6. To reschedule or cancel your video EEG appointment, call 651-229-3995. 
  7. If you have questions, call the EEG lab at 651-726-2885.

Please Bring

  • Any special formula that your child uses.
  • All medicines your child normally takes, or a list of those medicines, including the doses taken, the concentration of those doses, the times of day each medicine is taken, and the method used to take the medicine (swallows a pill, inhales, applies it to the skin, etc.).
  • Things your child enjoys, such as favorite toys, stuffed animals, books, schoolwork, games, DVDs and video games. We provide a TV, some movies, and toys.
  • Comfortable clothing, including a button-up shirt, if possible. While hooked up to the EEG monitor, it’ll be difficult to pull clothing over your child’s head.
  • Schoolwork, if you think spells are more likely to occur when your child is working on that.
  • Descriptions of each type of spell your child has. (We’ll  provide a form you can use to write them down. If there are several types, you might want to write their descriptions down before you arrive at Gillette.) You can give each spell type a label, such as Spell A, Spell B, and so on. That makes it easier to document which spell types occur during the EEG recording, and it prevents you from having to write full descriptions every time a spell occurs.

Requirements for a Successful Video EEG Recording

For successful EEG monitoring, we need to make the best possible recording. To accomplish that, the following factors are important.

  • A parent or caregiver should accompany your child during the entire video EEG process. That helps ensure that when events which parents think are spells occur, they get recorded and documented.
  • We ask you to help your child face the camera at all times, even during sleep. Try not to block the camera with your body when you’re with your child. Cover the child only with what is necessary for comfort. That helps us clearly see your child’s body movements.
  • We ask you to uncover your child during any events. That allows us to correlate body movements with brain wave activity.
  • Your child should not chew gum or candy during the recording.
  • Your child may play as usual during the test, but movement might be slightly limited because your child will be connected by wires to the monitoring equipment.
  • Your child may eat as usual during the test.
  • During the test, your child may get out of bed to go to the playroom or attend evening group activities for about one hour every 24 hours. To make such visits, your child will need a written order by the physician and/or nurse clinician. NOTE: The only times your child will be off camera during the video EEG will be during evening activities or other on-campus appointments (and during bathroom use). However, your child will remain connected to monitoring equipment, so events will continue to be recorded.
  • If your child’s spells include staring spells, time spent watching TV and playing video games should be limited to 20 minutes every three hours. If your child’s spells seem most likely to occur during certain activities, it’s important to engage your child in those activities during the test.

Documenting Spells During the Test

Follow this process when you think you see your child experience spell activity during the video EEG.

  1. Push the Event button.
  2. Uncover your child and move anything that might block the camera’s view.
  3. Turn on the lights in the room.
  4. Record the spell on the Seizure Event Record at the bedside. Note:
  • The time the spell began. (Use the wall-mounted clock behind the bed’s headboard.)
  • How long the spell lasts. (Use the wall-mounted timer behind the bed’s headboard.).
  • Anything you think might have triggered the spell.
  • Body movements during the spell, in the order they occur.
  • How your child acts after the spell.

On the back of the Seizure Event Record, before the test begins, you should write descriptions of your child’s typical spell types. Label them Spell A, Spell B, and so on.

This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your health care providers. If you have any questions, talk with your doctor or others on your health care team.