Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is an Ambulatory EEG?
An Ambulatory EEG is a diagnostic test physician's use to use to look at the "electrical activity" in a patient's brain.
What is the difference between a Routine EEG and an Ambulatory EEG?
A routine EEG requires the patient to attend a scheduled appointed, where electrodes are applied to the scalp. The electrodes are then connected to a computer which will monitor the brain waves for approximately 1 half hour, this method limits the type of data can be captured because it only records information for a short period of time.
An Ambulatory EEG or "extended EEG" is recorded over an extended period of time, typically studies as 24 hours, 48 hours or 72 hours. With a Routine EEG it can be difficult to capture an "event" because the test is performed in such a short time period time; seizures and spells for example are often intermittent in nature of which 75% occur at night, information that would not have been captured in a Routine EEG.
Why an EEG?
Ambulatory EEG's are used as a tool to help physicians diagnose conditions such as, Seizure, Pseudo-seizure, Syncope, Transient Ischemic Attacks, Migraine Headache, etc…
Who will benefit from an Ambulatory EEG test?
Because the test is "ambulatory" the patient can be tested without having to be admitted allowing for little disturbance in a patient's day-to-day routine. The patient is set up with a portable unit which they wear throughout the day while the machine records the necessary information. Having the ability to record information over a prolonged period of time in particular while the patient is engaged in everyday life has unquestionable advantages such as the ability to capture an abnormality or an event when it happens.
What happens to the data?
Once the test is complete the data retrieved from the unit and is analyzed so that a diagnosis and possible treatment plan can be made.
Are preparation needed before an appointment?
Minor preparations are required, such as having clean hair free of any styling products such as gel or hairspray. For convenience it is recommended that a shirt with buttons or zippers on the front is worn so that you may more easily get dressed and undress over the 24 to 72 hour testing period.
What should I expect while wearing the ambulatory EEG unit?
A Technologist will have attached electrodes your scalp. The electrodes are attached with conductive cream which does not penetrate or harm the skin in any way and will take approximately 30 minutes to complete. Once the electrodes have been placed, your head will be wrapped with gauze to help secure the electrodes over the recording period reducing the possibility of an electrode falling off during the testing period. The electrodes will then be connected small, light weight EEG recorder which will be worn around your waist