Epilepsy is a condition that affects millions of people around the world, including infants. Parents who have children who suffer from epilepsy want the best for their children. More research needs to be conducted in all areas of epilepsy to help find better ways of dealing with the disease.
One recent retrospective study looked at continuous electroencephalography, or cEEG, of children who were in intensive care units. The study found that the children in ICU had a higher number of seizures than anticipated. The study looked at several other conditions that were related to seizures too. Researchers believe that using continuous electroencephalography monitoring could be very helpful to not only identify neurological problems in young patients, but treat them as well.
An EEG will measure the electrical activity in the brain. They are often used as a way to look for neurological problems in the brain and help doctors to diagnose a patient with epilepsy. With a conventional EEG, the process will generally last for about an hour. However, cEEGs are different because they are continuous. Meaning, that the doctors will be able to monitor the brain activity for much longer – hours and even days in some cases.
As helpful as this might be for patients, you will find that they tend to not be in use everywhere. One of the major reasons for this is the cost of the hardware and software. Also, there is the cost of having people with the knowledge and skills to run these machines and interpret the data.
The study allowed the researchers to identify a risk threshold of 14 months for young patients. They found that patients who were younger than 14 months were at a much higher risk of having seizures. In fact, they had an overall seizure rate of 45%. The younger patients were often associated with certain conditions according to Dr. Larry Olsen. These conditions include: hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, intracranial hemorrhage or central nervous system infection. The aforementioned conditions were associated with 61% of the seizure patients in the age group.
Researchers were able to find that the cEEG could be a massive help for young patients. They feel that cEEGs could help better diagnose neurological problems. With an earlier diagnosis, patients can get the treatment they need faster than they would have been able to without this type of testing.
What the Study Entailed
This was a retrospective study that looked at data from 517 children who had been monitored with cEEG. All of the children were patients in the ICU. Important to remember that the children had been selected to undergo this type of monitoring, which means that they have a higher risk of neurological problems than the general population. This needs to be considered when looking at the seizure prevalence information.
Still, the use of cEEG monitoring has proven to be helpful and might be worth the added cost, so hospitals and clinics will want to look into providing this testing. Continuous EEGs could be a good way to improve the health outcomes of young patients.