Video Electroencephalogram (EEG)

What to Expect When Your Child Needs a Video EEG

Your child’s neurologist has ordered a test to determine the presence of a condition such as epilepsy or seizures. An  Electroencephalogram (EEG) records and prints the pattern of electrical activity in different areas of the brain, providing doctors detailed information about your child’s brain.

In order for doctors and nurses to monitor your child carefully and thoroughly for possible seizure activity, a Video EEG typically requires a two-day hospital stay, during which time your child will be continuously recorded throughout their hospital stay. Through careful monitoring, our neurologists are able to observe your child’s behavior, while also seeing brain-wave patterns to determine if a seizure is occurring.

Scheduling a Video EEG and Follow-up Appointment

1. Call the Mary Bridge Neurophysiology Department at 253-403-3347 (EEGS) to schedule your child’s Video EEG.

  • To prevent cancellation of the appointment, be sure to call Neurophysiology 48 hours (two days) before your child’s scheduled admission to confirm the test.
  • Please note that due to hospital emergencies, this appointment may need to be rescheduled. We strive to notify you as soon as possible if this happens and will reschedule into the next available opening.
2. At the same time you schedule the Video EEG, call 253-792-6630 to schedule a follow-up appointment with your child’s neurologist for three weeks after the procedure, to review the test results.

Preparing for the Video EEG

The night before the test, wash your child’s hair with regular shampoo. Do not use any conditioner, gels, hair products or lotions on the skin. Dry your child’s hair and leave it loose (no braids or barrettes).

Continue taking all medication prescribed by your child’s doctor, unless instructed otherwise.

Your child should eat a meal before arriving, but do not feed your child any chocolate or caffeine drinks 12 hours before the test.

On the day of the test, check in at the main Information Desk of Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital entrance located at 317 Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

When you arrive, a nurse will help you settle into your child’s room, conduct a brief exam and will check on your child throughout their stay.

A Video EEG technician will measure your child’s head, make some marks and may need to rub the head with a cleaning pad to help the lead wire patches stick better. A sticky, smelly paste is used to adhere several patches with wires to the scalp. The smell will disappear quickly. A parent or caregiver can help console a nervous or restless child by lying on the bed, providing a special toy or blanket to snuggle with or singing a lullaby.

Dress your child in a loose-fitting, button-down shirt, or plan to use the hospital gown provided. Your child’s head and chest will have several wires attached for monitoring.

Bring activities for your child. A pacifier, blanket or special toy is good for a very young child. Battery-operated games are allowed. No electronic devices can be plugged into the wall, including cell phone chargers and computer laptops.

Your child’s meals will be provided by the hospital. Adults are responsible for their own meals, and you may bring food for yourself or your child to prepare in our family kitchen equipped with a refrigerator and microwave. The hospital cafeteria is located on the third floor.

What Will Happen During the Video EEG

A nurse will call within the week prior to admission to review instructions, verify current medications and determine any allergies or special food needs your child may have. Please bring all your child’s medications — not just seizure medicines — with you to the hospital. The hospital will provide the same medication your child takes at home. Your home supply of medication cannot be used, but must be checked and verified.

A parent or caregiver must be present throughout the child’s stay to observe and mark the EEG strip when the episodes are seen or suspected. A chair/bed is available for you to sleep on.

If there is a specific activity that you suspect may cause seizures, plan to do that activity so the doctor can determine if it does indeed trigger a seizure. For instance, if being overly tired is a possible trigger for seizures, you may want to stay up late the night before admission, so your child is tired and might show the behavior you are evaluating.

There will be a cord with a button on it that you will be instructed to push whenever you see a behavior that is of concern, such as twitching or staring. There is also a microphone available to enable you to describe what you observe during the event.

When you push the button, a mark is made on the EEG recording strip. The button will also signal a nurse, who will come in the room to observe the behavior you have noted. The neurologist can then look at the EEG recording strip, while playing that section of the videotape, and determine if there was any change in brain-wave patterns at that time. The results of the test will help you to know what to report as seizure activity.

The on-call neurologist will visit you each day of the Video EEG to see how your child is doing and discuss any events you may have noted during the recording.

Reviewing the Results

Following the Video EEG, it is important to meet with your child’s neurologist to review the results. Together, you will review the information collected and discuss the findings and any recommended medical treatment. Be sure to discuss with the doctor any questions or concerns you may have about your child’s care and treatment.

Location and Parking

 Mary Bridge Children's Hospital
317 Martin Luther King Jr Way
Tacoma, WA 98405

On the day of the CT scan, you may park for free in the Baker Center Parking Garage. Please be sure to bring your parking ticket in with you to the appointment for validation.

Valet Parking is available for $3.00 at the main hospital entrance on Martin Luther King Jr Way or the Philip Pavilion entrance on S 5th Street.