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

Information for Patients

Adult patients are admitted to our Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) for video EEG monitoring at the Neuromedicine Hospital, Floor 57. Each monitoring room has special seizure-monitoring equipment and ceiling-mounted cameras. All monitoring rooms are private rooms.

What to expect during your hospital stay

  • This is a 3-5 day admission. There are times your admission may be a little longer depending on how long it takes to record seizures. We typically like to record at least 3 seizures.
  • The nursing staff will orient you to your room and will explain the use of the nurse-call system, seizure monitoring equipment and information about the hospital routine.
  • The side rails of your hospital bed will be padded to prevent possible injury during a seizure.
  • We recommend having a companion stay with you during your hospitalization, however, if you do not have someone to stay with you, a bed alarm will be used for your safety. You will need to call your nurse for assistance to bathroom. You are not allow to get out of bed alone.
  • Video-EEG monitoring is continuous. EEG leads are checked daily.
  • You are permitted to take a sponge bath. EEG leads and amplifiers must remain dry at all times. Showers are not permitted.
  • No smoking or chewing gum. No hard candy. All potential risk for aspiration.
  • You will need to wear non-skid grip socks (provided for each patient).
  • You will have IV access should we need to give fast-acting medications to control seizures.
  • We try to create the best environment to record seizures to include slowly tapering seizure medications.
  • During your stay, you may be sleep deprived. This is another way to provoke seizures.
  • A detailed history of your seizures will be obtained by the doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners and/or EEG technicians.
  • Lab work at the time of admission.
  • The epilepsy team will make rounds daily.
  • Prior to discharge, you will have a brain MRI done to evaluate for structural abnormalities.

Based on the findings during Phase I monitoring, more information may be needed in order to identify a single seizure focus. This would require further testing click here to review.