EEG at the UFHealth Neuromedicine Hospital
More to come…
Information for Patients
An EEG is one of the main diagnostic tests for epilepsy. An EEG records the electrical activity of your brain via electrodes affixed to your scalp. EEG results show changes in brain activity that may be useful in diagnosing brain conditions, especially epilepsy and other seizure disorders.
OR : An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a test that detects electrical activity in your brain using small, metal discs (electrodes) attached to your scalp. Your brain cells communicate via electrical impulses and are active all the time, even when you’re asleep. This activity shows up as wavy lines on an EEG recording.
OR: An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a noninvasive test that records electrical patterns in your brain. The test is used to help diagnose conditions such as seizures, epilepsy, head injuries, dizziness, headaches, brain tumors and sleeping problems. It can also be used to confirm brain death.
Why it’s done
OR: An EEG can determine changes in brain activity that might be useful in diagnosing brain disorders, especially epilepsy or another seizure disorder. An EEG might also be helpful for diagnosing the following disorders:
- Brain tumor
- Brain damage from head injury
- Brain dysfunction that can have a variety of causes (encephalopathy)
- Inflammation of the brain (encephalitis)
- Sleep disorders
An EEG might also be used to confirm brain death in someone in a persistent coma. A continuous EEG is used to help find the right level of anesthesia for someone in a medically induced coma.
–It can be normal with all these conditions as it only records real time brain waves and abnormalities do not always show up during the test.
EEGs are safe and painless and pose no significant risks. Note that the electrodes used for an EEG only pick up electrical charges; they do not emit electricity and are harmless.
Sometimes seizures are intentionally triggered in people with epilepsy during the test which are brought on by deep breathing or flashing lights, but appropriate medical care is provided if needed.
How you prepare
Food and medications
- Avoid anything with caffeine on the day of the test because it can affect the test results.
- Take your usual medications unless instructed otherwise.
- Wash your hair the night before or the day of the test, but don’t use conditioners, hair creams, sprays or styling gels. Hair products can make it harder for the sticky patches that hold the electrodes to adhere to your scalp.
- If you’re supposed to sleep during your EEG test, your doctor might ask you to sleep less or avoid sleep the night before your test.
During the test
During an EEG, flat metal discs (electrodes) are attached to your scalp. The electrodes are connected to the EEG machine with wires. Some people wear an elastic cap fitted with electrodes, instead of having the adhesive applied to their scalps.
You’ll feel little or no discomfort during an EEG. The electrodes don’t transmit any sensations. They just record your brain waves.
Ambulatory EEGs (aEEGs), which allow for longer monitoring outside an office or hospital setting, are in limited use. This test can record brain activity over several days, which increases the chances of catching seizure activity. However, compared to inpatient video-EEG monitoring, an ambulatory EEG is not as good at determining the difference between epileptic seizures and nonepileptic seizures.
Doctors trained to analyze EEGs interpret the recording and send the results to the doctor who ordered the EEG. Your doctor might schedule an office appointment to discuss the results of the test.