The SSM Neurosciences Institute at DePaul Health Center has expanded its advanced Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU), adding bed capacity to serve more patients with seizure disorders.
Under the medical direction of Daniel Mattson, MD, a board-certified neurologist fellowship trained in epilepsy treatment, this specialized unit has expanded from two beds to four beds and is one of only a handful in St. Louis. In addition, the EMU now offers long-term monitoring for patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
The EMU helps doctors more accurately diagnose or rule out epilepsy in people who have experienced a seizure or in whom the diagnosis is uncertain. It also serves patients already diagnosed with epilepsy, but who may need adjustments to their medications or adjunctive therapies, such as vagal nerve stimulators or epilepsy surgery.
“More than 20 percent of unresponsive neurological ICU patients may demonstrate epileptic activity on an EEG that, if untreated, can lead to irreversible brain damage,” Dr. Mattson says.
EMU patients are connected to an advanced electroencephalogram (EEG) system that uses Bluetooth technology, allowing the patient to move around freely while still being monitored. A technician monitors the patient around the clock and records the patient on video. Most patients are monitored in the hospital for two to seven days to determine the frequency of seizures and where they are occurring in the brain. This helps physicians design the most effective treatment.
“In the past, many seizure disorder patients were simply put on anti-epileptic drugs,” says Erin Sydnor, RN, executive director of strategy and business development for the SSM Neurosciences Institute. “Since they hadn’t been monitored, they were going home and not having much success; they were still experiencing seizures.”
Epilepsy is a medical condition that makes people susceptible to recurrent seizures. These seizures — which can present with many different symptoms — result from brief, but strong, surges of electrical activity in the brain. Epilepsy and seizures affect 3 million Americans, with 180,000 new cases of epilepsy diagnosed each year. One in 10 people has a seizure by the time they are 85 years old.
The EMU at SSM DePaul maintains a strict fall precautions protocol and rooms are furnished with low therapeutic beds and removable floor pads for safety. The hospital also is equipped with a mobile monitoring device that can be moved to or other areas as needed.
For more information about the EMU and epilepsy treatment, call 314-355-3355 or visit www.ssmhealth.com/neuro.
About SSM Neurosciences Institute
A service of SSM Health Care – St. Louis, SSM Neurosciences Institute provides specialized expertise to diagnose and treat a number of disorders that afflict the brain and nervous system, including stroke, spine ailments, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and more. An expert team of neurologists, neurosurgeons and neuro-interventionists provides a full range of neurological care, using state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment technology, including two biplane angiography suites. SSM Neurosciences Institute operates the St. Louis region’s leading network of Joint Commission-certified Primary Stroke Center, with locations at five SSM hospitals throughout St. Louis and St. Charles counties. Each has achieved “Get With the Guidelines” recognition from the American Stroke Association. For more information, go to www.ssmhealth.com/neuro.
About SSM DePaul Health Center
SSM DePaul Health Center is a 478-bed, full-service hospital and a member of SSM Health Care-St. Louis located at the intersection of Interstates 70 and 270 in North St. Louis County. Founded in 1828, DePaul was the first hospital west of the Mississippi River and remains the oldest continuously existing business in St. Louis. Today DePaul is a Joint Commission-certified Primary Stroke Center, operates the only Level II Trauma Center in its service region and offers the most advanced technology and procedures available including minimally invasive heart, spine, knee, hip and weight loss surgery. DePaul also operates the most comprehensive robotic surgical program in the region and is two-time recipient of the Missouri Quality Award and a Premier QUEST High Performing Hospital. To learn more, visit www.ssmdepaul.com.