Epilepsy Monitoring Unit

photo of eeg monitoring

The Adult Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) is a specialized 8-bedded inpatient unit located on the 5th floor of the new UFHealth Neuromedicine Hospital. The EMU is where the single most important testing (investigation) is performed for our patients: the recording of seizures, as well as normal waking and sleep over several days under continuous EEG and video surveillance (video-EEG; VEEG).
 
Data gathered from EMU testing informs the epilepsy treatment team – the epileptologist (attending/ faculty neurologist who specializes in epilepsy), the nurse practitioner, rotating neurology residents and fellows, nurse coordinators,and EEG technologists – about the type of spell the patient is experiencing. The patient’s symptoms are thoroughly understood first-hand in this manner, and appropriate management plans are made. Patients generally stay for 3-5 days, and anti-seizure medication may be weaned and/or discontinued to provoke the occurrence of spells. Occasionally we use photic stimulation (flashing lights), hyperventilation, sleep deprivation and other provoking techniques to help increase the chances of recording spells. For patients with medication resistant epilepsy who may be candidates for epilepsy surgery, EMU evaluation is a mandatory procedure – often called ‘Phase I’ evaluation – that informs the treating team about the brain area that is producing seizures and how those seizures spread. Pre-surgical patients also undergo neuropsychological testing (paper and pencil tests to evaluate brain functions like language and memory) while they are admitted to the EMU. Together with the results of other tests (MRI, PET etc.) the treating team is able to identify whether the patient will benefit or from surgery, and whether still further tests are required to make that determination. These decisions are made at the conclusion of the patient EMU stay and occur at our weekly multi-disciplinary epilepsy patient management conference.
 
All EMU rooms in the UFHealth Neuromedicine hospital are private and equipped for a high standard of patient comfort. Families are welcome to stay with the patient throughout their stay. The treating time rounds on a daily basis in the mornings, updating the patient and their family of their day-to-day progress. One or more members of the team are always available for more in-depth discussion at other times of the day.  Upon discharge, patient follow-up arrangements are made or confirmed. Any necessary paperwork or medication refills can also be taken care of at this stage. A detailed report is created and sent to the patient’s primary care physician, the referring neurologist and the clinic/ outpatient team.
 

Questions regarding the Epilepsy Monitoring unit – or any other aspect of the UF Comprehensive Epilepsy Program – should be directed to

Email: UFCEP@neurology.ufl.edu

Phone: (352) 273-9570