Electroencephalography (EEG) is thought to be the most
useful test in confirming a diagnosis of
epilepsy, but it is not foolproof.
Some people with abnormal EEG results do not have
epilepsy. This is not common.
About 50% of people with
epilepsy will have normal results on their first EEG.1
If epilepsy is still suspected, a follow-up EEG may be done. This second test
may be a sleep-deprived EEG, in which the test is done after you have been
forced to stay awake for a longer period of time than usual. A sleep-deprived
EEG can sometimes reveal abnormalities that did not show up on the regular
From 10% to 40% of people with epilepsy will have normal EEG
results even after having several EEG tests done.1
Video and EEG monitoring records seizures on videotape and computer
so that the doctor can see what happens just before, during, and right after a
seizure occurs. The video records what you are doing while the EEG records the
electrical activity occurring in your brain. This type of monitoring may be
Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes repeated episodes of unprovoked seizures. There is no cure for epilepsy, but medications may help keep symptoms under control. Epilepsy is almost always treated first with medication.
Choosing the right one, however, can be challenging. There are at least 20 different drugs available to prevent seizures. Some have been around for decades. Many others have only been developed recently, and each drug comes with its own benefits and risks. Also, side effects...
When your medical history and repeated EEGs are
not enough to figure out what kinds of seizures you are having. Simultaneous
video and EEG recording can provide important clues about what type of seizure
you have had.
To evaluate your condition before you have epilepsy
To diagnose seizures that are not from epilepsy, such as
Bazil CW, Pedley TA (2010). Epilepsy. In LP Rowland, TA Pedley, eds., Merritt?s Neurology, 12th ed., pp. 927-948. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Steven C. Schachter, MD - Neurology
August 26, 2011
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
August 26, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this