Diagnosis

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An EEG records brain waves through electrodes placed on the scalp.

Different tests may help determine whether you have epilepsy and, if so, what kind of seizures you are having. In addition to a detailed review of your medical history, close observation and intensive testing will help identify the nature of your seizures. The physician may order one or all of these tests to learn more about your individual condition:

  • EEG Monitoring: An EEG records brain waves through electrodes placed on the scalp to detect abnormalities in the brain’s electrical activity. Video monitoring is often used in conjunction with EEG to determine the type of seizures you are experiencing.
  • Brain Scans: One of the most important ways to diagnose epilepsy is through the use of brain scans, such as CT (computed tomography), PET (positron emission tomography) and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). CT and MRI scans reveal the structure of the brain, which can be useful for identifying brain tumors, cysts and other structural abnormalities. Additional scans can be used to monitor the brain’s activity and detect abnormalities in how it works.
  • Blood Tests: Doctors often take blood samples to test for metabolic or genetic disorders that may be associated with the seizures and for underlying problems such as infections, lead poisoning, anemia and diabetes, that may be causing or triggering the seizures.
  • Developmental, Neurological & Behavioral Tests: Doctors may use tests devised to measure motor abilities, behavior and intellectual capacity as a way to determine how the epilepsy is affecting you.

  • Last updated: 11/08/2013
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