Rethinking Seizure Care Blog

How Are In-home Prolonged Video EEGs Helpful to EMUs?

Posted by RSC Diagnostics on Nov 7, 2019


Previously and not so long ago, a patient getting a prolonged EEG had to remain in a hospital bed for days since the equipment was too bulky to take out of the facility. Now, patients have options for prolonged EEGs.

In a recent blog post, Confusion about EEG? Dr. Andrew Wilner explains these changes: “Modern computer technology has transformed EEG records from towering stacks of paper to minuscule collections of bits on digital hard drives.”

Today, advancements in EEG technology provide equipment options that did not exist just a few years ago. Now, patients can wear the lightweight EEG headbox at home.

This type of study goes by many names – Ambulatory EEG (aEEG), prolonged EEG with video or even ambulatory EEG with video – and allows a patient to move about freely during their study while a small EEG instrument records brain activity. The headbox, seated in a fanny pack or small cross body bag, is unobtrusive to the patient. Adult and pediatric patients have a tremendous degree of mobility and remain in the comfort of their homes to experience the day as much as they typically would.

Ambulatory EEGs fill a missing need in the array of seizure diagnostic tools. In-home prolonged EEG with video is a step-up from a typical non-video, non-audio ambulatory study and is now a viable alternative to an Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) stay. According to Dr. Wilner, a benefit of having patient events captured on video is the seamless synchronization to their brain waves. What used to be a very time-consuming process is now automated. RSC's unique approach and technology empowers physicians by increasing the diagnostic yield to evaluate, diagnose and treat a variety of neurological symptoms.

EMU stays are essential when:

  • a patient is changing medications.
  • activation procedures are performed to induce seizures.
  • staff must to be on hand to immediately respond to potentially life-threatening situations. 

However, what about the non-critical patients who do not need to be in the hospital setting for their study? Now, In-home prolonged EEG studies allow patients without life threatening events to remain in the comfort of their home for a prolonged study lasting 120+ hours in duration.

In-Home Video Ambulatory EEGs do not replace EMUs; they provide an option not previously available to a large portion of patients who have seizure disorders. Where EMUs serve a large patient demographic who need to be in a hospital for their testing, In-home Video aEEGs serve an equally large patient population who do not need to be in an inpatient setting.

Patients who benefit most from an In-home prolonged EEG with video are those experiencing:
  • Unexplained events
  • Suspected Epilepsy
  • Differential diagnosis
  • Syncope
  • Episodic hallucinations
  • Extremity numbness or twitching (due to focal seizures)
  • Staring episodes
  • Unexplained alterations in mental status
  • Notcural or sleep-related events

Patients appreciate the convenience of a registered technologist (R. EEG T.) coming to their home to set-up and conduct the study rather than drive to the closest EMU and remain confined to an unfamiliar hospital bed for three to five days—often at the inconvenience and disruption of family life. An In-Home Video aEEG is also easier on a patient’s budget since the study typically costs less than a typical EMU hospital stay.

Doctors appreciate that an In-home EEG with video study is often easier and quicker to schedule than an EMU study, since many hospitals have a four to eight week waitlist. When patients are in their home environment and exposed to their everyday stressors, the likelihood of events to occur and be captured increases. The opportunity to correlate the EEG and the patient's diary provides doctors more insight into their patient’s condition, which allows for a more accurate diagnosis.

From a business perspective, In-Home aEEG services allow practices to experience an immediate increase in revenue and reimbursement with no capital outlay while improving patient satisfaction.

To learn more about inpatient vs. outpatient EEG-Video studies, download our free case study by Selim R. Benbadis, MD, 'Does EEG-Video Monitoring Need to be Performed in an Inpatient Setting?'


Author: Lucy Sullivan, R. EEG T., CLTM


Benbadis SR. What type of EEG (or EEG-video) does your patient need? Expert Rev. Neurother 2015:1-4.

Andrew Wilner, MD, Neurology. Confusion about EEG?!comment=1


Topics: In-Home Video EEG