Neurosciences (Adult)

EEG Monitoring

Electroencephalography (EEG) records electrical activity in the brain, much like electrocardiography (EKG) records electrical activity in the heart. An EEG is a safe and painless test. For the majority of patients with epilepsy, routine EEG is sufficient to classify seizure type and initiate treatment. However, for those with intractable recurrent seizures and those with an unconfirmed seizure diagnosis, inpatient video-EEG monitoring is the best diagnostic tool available.


An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a safe and painless test that measures and records the electrical activity of the brain by using sensors (electrodes) attached to the head and connected by wires to a computer. The computer records the brain's electrical activity on the screen or on paper as wavy lines. Certain conditions, such as seizures, can be detected by observing changes in the normal pattern of the brain's electrical activity.

At Yale-New Haven, EEG testing can be done in an outpatient setting, or may be performed during a hospital admission for a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation that also includes EEG-video monitoring and imaging studies. The adult neuropsychological testing takes approximately 5-6 hours but can vary depending on individual factors such as fatigue, prior testing experience, and the types of difficulty a patient may have with their cognitive abilities.

Continuous Audio Visual EEG Recording

When appropriate, inpatient video-EEG monitoring offers patients the opportunity to safely be taken off medications that might otherwise mask seizure activity during routine EEG. Continuous behavioral and EEG monitoring over time in a controlled environment helps localize seizure focus, determine seizure type, and quantify the number of seizures. Equally important, video-EEG monitoring can differentiate seizures from psychologically based seizure-like episodes and from physiologic events that may be confused with epilepsy.

At Yale-New Haven Hospital, we have a dedicated six-bed adult monitoring unit with state-of-the-art audiovisual and EEG monitoring equipment to help diagnose and localize the affected area of the brain, to tailor care for each patient. The inpatient monitoring is supervised by full-time neurologists who specialize in epilepsy.

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