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Video Electroencephalogram (EEG): Inpatient

What is a video EEG?

A video EEG is a safe way to record the electrical activity in the brain (brain waves) and the child's physical activity (use of video) at the same time.

How is the test done?

A technologist begins by measuring your child's head for placing the electrodes (small discs). The technologist then puts on a sandy/gritty lotion to the scalp and attaches the electrodes to each area with special glue (which may have a strong smell) and dries them with an air dryer.

The electrodes have a center hole that is filled with gel at the start of the test and specific times during the test. There may be some discomfort. Placement may take an hour, depending on the child. Child life staff can offer diversion activities to help your child stay calm during the EEG application.

Wires attached to the electrodes are connected to EEG machine. Part of the screen displays the brain waves, and the other part displays the video of the patient. This information is stored in a computer for the doctor to review. The video cameras are on all the time except when privacy is needed, such as using the bathroom, or changing clothes.

Where is the test done?

In some units, your child will be confined to an area where a camera monitors his or her activity. Activity is limited during the test because of the length of the cord that attaches to the EEG machine. For safety, bedside baths will be done until wires are removed. In some areas of the hospital, your child may not have to stay in bed and can play, watch TV or do other activities.

Staff will explain what options are available. Your child may be given a battery pack to allow for more free movement. Depending on availability, a battery pack can be used up to 2 times daily for up to 2 hours. An event button may be added to your pack to push at the onset of an event. Please inform your nurse what your child did during the event, the time it occurred and how long it lasted.

A baseline test may be done periodically to get information. For this, the EEG tech will ask your child to:

  • Open and close his or her eyes
  • Look at a bright, flashing light
  • Breathe deeply and quickly

What happens after the test?

The electrodes are removed with a special solution. While the electrodes are being removed, your child may feel some pulling on the hair. If any glue remains, it is not harmful and will come off over time. Once the electrodes are removed, your child can take a regular bath or shower.

What else do I need to know?

An EEG technologist will periodically check your child's placement of the electrodes. Wire maintenance and repairs may occur.

When can I expect the results?

A pediatric neurologist (a doctor who specializes in the brain) will review the recording and update the team of any changes to the plan of care.

Questions?

This sheet is not specific to your child but provides general information. For questions about why your child is being tested, please ask
your child's doctor.

Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
2525 Chicago Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Last reviewed 8/2015 ©Copyright

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Family Resource Center library, or visit www.childrensmn.org/educationmaterials.

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