What is a video EEG test?

Video EEG (electroencephalogram) monitoring is a specialized kind of EEG used for diagnosing the cause of seizures. The patient is continuously monitored on a video while their brain activity is simultaneously recorded in an EEG unit.

The doctor studies and correlates EEG readings of the patient during a seizure and the recorded video of the patient’s behavior at the same time to arrive at a diagnosis.

Who is video EEG monitoring used for?

Video EEG monitoring is generally used for patients who continue to have seizures despite antiepileptic drugs. Because seizures are unpredictable, the patient must undergo continuous video EEG monitoring so that the doctor can track and view the event.

Video EEG monitoring helps the doctor to determine the cause of seizures, and decide on the appropriate course of treatment. Video EEG monitoring is used to find:

  • If the seizures are caused by epilepsy
  • The type of epilepsy, if that is the cause for the seizures
  • The cause for the seizures, if not epilepsy
  • The points of origin of the seizures

What are the conditions diagnosed with video EEG monitoring?

Conditions diagnosed with video EEG monitoring include:

Epileptic conditions

  • Temporal lobe epilepsy: This most common type of epilepsy starts as a localized seizure in the temporal lobe of the brain and may turn into a generalized seizure.
  • Extratemporal epilepsy: Seizures that originate from any part of the brain other than the temporal lobe.
  • Hemispheric syndromes: Widespread origin of seizures involving a whole hemisphere of the brain.
  • Symptomatic generalized epilepsy: Caused by diffuse brain injury due to infection, congenital abnormality or oxygen deprivation during birth.
  • Idiopathic generalized epilepsy: Known as primary generalized epilepsy — it is inherited.

Nonepileptic conditions

  • Psychogenic nonepileptic attacks (PNEAs): Occur due to psychological reasons and often misdiagnosed as epilepsy.
  • Syncope: Fainting or blackout spells.
  • Parasomnias: Sleep disorders.
  • Hypnic jerks: Sleep starts that occur while falling asleep.
  • Panic attacks: Seizure-like symptoms caused by anxiety.
  • Nonepileptic myoclonus: Seizures that are not of brain origin and not visible on EEG.
  • Hemifacial spasm: A muscle spasm that makes one side of the face twitch.
  • Benign nonspecific symptoms: Benign, temporary seizure-like symptoms that resolve on their own.

Conditions specific to young children

  • Tics: Sudden repetitive motor activity, which is common in children from five to 10 years of age.
  • Shuddering attacks: Sudden jerky movements of the neck or body that may last up to 15 seconds.
  • Cyanotic infantile syncope (breath-holding spells): Fainting after brief inability to inhale after a crying episode, typically in younger children up to five years of age.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux: Reflux and vomiting due to laryngeal spasms that produce seizure-like symptoms.
  • Benign myoclonus of infancy: Sudden muscle spasms and jerks that resolve on their own within a year.
  • Mannerisms: Common in children with mental developmental issues.
  • Spasmus nutans: Head nodding, head tilting and involuntary eye movements, found typically in babies up to 12 months.

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Epilepsy: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment See Slideshow

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Medically Reviewed on 5/29/2020
References
Medscape Medical Reference
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