Nearly 3 million people in the United States suffer from epilepsy and other seizure disorders. Each year, approximately 200,000 new cases are diagnosed.
At WVU’s Epilepsy Center, which has been awarded a top ranking by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers, neurologists work with specialists from neurosurgery, neuropsychology, neuroradiology, and psychiatry to identify the part of the brain that is causing the epileptic seizures. Using a 3- T MRI machine, which has twice the imaging capability as other imaging techniques, WVU epilepsy specialists can identify the focus area in the brain that causes seizures to occur. Once the area is localized, our physicians are able to design individualized, pharmacological treatment plans for patients. For those patients who do not respond to medication, surgical intervention to remove the epileptic focus may offer a cure or a reduction in the frequency, as well as the severity, of seizures.
WVU’s Epilepsy Center provides state-of-the-art care for adults and children who have seizures. Our level 4 center, active since 2002, helps patients throughout the region.
Level 4 is the highest level awarded by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers. This label means that we help people from around the region and across the country, giving them the most up-to-date therapy for epilepsy.
Our team is made up of specialists in neuropsychology, and neuroradiology. Your own doctor is also a key part of your team, and we are committed to working together.
- Learn more about:
To learn more about epilepsy, please visit these websites:
- American Epilepsy Society
- Center for Disease Control frequently asked questions about epilepsy
- National Institute of Neurological Disorders
In the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU), located on the 9th floor of Ruby Memorial Hospital, we use EEG video monitoring to find and record a seizures onset. Our goal is to record multiple seizures but avoid prolonged seizures or convulsions. The EMU consists of seven beds with 24-hour onsite EEG technician service and dedicated nursing. Typical length of stay in the EMU is five to seven days.
Advanced treatment for epilepsy depends on a detailed evaluation of your condition.
Finding the seizure focus in the brain is based on your symptoms, EEG neuroimaging, a neuropsychology exam, and sometimes chronic intracranial EEG (SEEG) studies.
The tools we use to learn the cause of your seizures include MI, EEG video telemetry, and neuropsychology testing. In complex cases, further neuroimaging may be performed, such as advanced MRI sequencing, ictal single photo computed tomography (SPECT), and metabolic imaging using interictal 18 fluorodeoxy-glucose positron emission tomography.
Neuroimaging is vital to an advanced epilepsy evaluation. A high-resolution MRI is the most important means of capturing neuro-images (pictures of activity in the brain) because of its excellent spatial resolution and detail.
When it’s hard to tell where the seizures are located, ictal SPECT may show an area of hyperperfusion corresponding to the seizure focus. FDG-PET is used at WVU to identify metabolic defects that may correspond to the seizures focus. In the Center for Advanced Imaging at WVU, we are dedicated to improving our ability to identify a seizure focus using advanced imaging techniques.
The neuropsychological evaluation establishes a cognitive baseline, determines memory reserve, and identifies cognitive defects that may point to a seizure focus. This evaluation takes place in an outpatient setting in a single day.