Special Needs

SN FAQ: EEG needed to check for seizures

Welcome to the Special Needs Frequently Asked Question thread! Please feel free to also create your own post in a new thread if you need more information or support. If you do post your own thread, we want as many parents as possible in your similar situation to 'see' your question. Please be specific and include the potential diagnosis or procedure in your post title.

Please share your EEG experience.

How old was your child?

Why was the EEG ordered?

How long was your child's EEG?

What should I bring?

When/How did you get the results?

Do you have any other tips?

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Re: SN FAQ: EEG needed to check for seizures

  • Please share your EEG experience.How old was your child? 2.5y/oWhy was the EEG ordered? He was diagnosed with ASD and our dev pedi had suspicions he was having absence seizures.How long was your child's EEG? 30 minutes once it started and 20 minutes to put the electrodes and bandage around his head. So an hour for everything.What should I bring? Favorite blanket, a favorite stuffed animal, a sippy cup with water (it helped DS calm down enough to fall asleep)When/How did you get the results? It took a week for a dev pedi to call us with the results which came back negative.Do you have any other tips? We kept DS awake until 11pm and then woke him up at 4am. His EEG was at 11am. I took him for a long walk in the morning and did activities to keep him awake. We were told that the more exhausted he is the better so that the results are as accurate possible. We just didn't want to have go through it all again. It was a long couple of days with keeping him up and with dealing with crabbiness of not sleeping but worth the experience of getting it done right the first time. 
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  • Please share your EEG experience.

    How old was your child? 3 months & 20 months

    Why was the EEG ordered? DS was having seizures and luckily had one in the ER exam room, so they got to witness it.

    How long was your child's EEG? The first one was about an hour. Later his seizures came back and he did a 3-day EEG.

    What should I bring? For a short (1 hour) EEG I would dress the child in pajamas and maybe bring a stuffed animal, some snacks and a drink. A toy to distract the child while the leads are being placed could be helpful. For an extended EEG, I would bring toys, books (although most peds hospitals have a playroom you can borrow toys and books from) fun snacks, and DVDs. An older child would probably like a hand held game system of some sort or Ipad. If you can have friends or relatives come and sub out for you, that is one of the best things for both child and parent.

    When/How did you get the results? He was an inpatient both times, so we got them within a few hours. Outpatients may end up waiting a while, unless the child needs immediate seizure control, e.g. a change in meds, etc.

    Do you have any other tips? Like I said, having someone come in and give you breaks is a huge help to pass the time and maintain everyone's sanity. It can be hard to take a break when your child has been having seizures, but if you have someone you trust to stay with your LO, it is a huge help. Ask for a bed in the child's room so you can sleep when s/he sleeps. If s/he seizes at night the monitoring staff will see it and come in. Pack toiletries and magazines and snacks for yourself, too. If the hospital offers a parent support group meeting, go to it. They had one during LO's 3-day EEG and, even though I was the only parent who came, it was really great to talk to the social worker. Also, a nurse with epilepsy came and talked about his adult life with epilepsy and it gave me a lot of hope and peace. Oh, stay out of the way of the camera. During the 3-day they were constantly filming DS, so we had to make sure that we kept him in view of the camera and did not stand in front of him. :) We also had to pull the emergency nurse call cord out of the wall every time he had a seizure which is freaky, but you do get used to it.

    I hope this helps and I am so sorry you have to read this. ((hugs)) 

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    Welcome to the Special Needs Frequently Asked Question thread! Please feel free to also create your own post in a new thread if you need more information or support. If you do post your own thread, we want as many parents as possible in your similar situation to 'see' your question. Please be specific and include the potential diagnosis or procedure in your post title.

    Please share your EEG experience.

    How old was your child?

    P: 6 months, 2 years

    M: 6 months 

    Why was the EEG ordered?

    P: previous seizure

    M: jerky movement/possible seizures 

    How long was your child's EEG?

    I remember P's first being..long i fell asleep with her, lol.  M's was probably about 30 mins once recording started.   Getting the electrodes marked and on can take a while..up to an hour-ish.  ALSO one place used paper mache type stuff with a LOUD gun to dry it, that was awful and P lost a lot of hair.  The last 2 have been much better with 'normal goop' used.  You may want to inquire their method of electrode placement.  The drying gun scared the H out of her!

    What should I bring?

    entertainment!  

    When/How did you get the results?

    Our neuro requested they be read by a pedi she worked with so it took a couple of days and I was able to email the nurse for results within 3 days. 

    Do you have any other tips?

    They will cry.  They will not be happy about the restriction.  They may need to be sleep deprived to stress the brain (we suck at this one so..don't ask me lol). Peyton's last one she had to basically be wrapped in a sheet and held down because she wouldn't let them do it.   

    Bring your patience and super mom cape. 

    DD1(4):VSD & PFO (Closed!), Prenatal stroke, Mild CP, Delayed pyloric opening/reflux, Brachycephaly & Plagiocephaly, Sacral lipoma, Tethered spinal cord, Compound heterozygous MTHFR, Neurogenic bladder, Urinary retention & dyssynergia, incomplete emptying, enlarged Bladder with Poor Muscle Tone, EDS-Type 3. Mito-Disorder has been mentioned

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  • Please share your EEG experience.

    Nate's EEG was done in a single hospital room that also had a bathroom. There was a window in the wall where the technician sat as well as video camera in the room. One pointed at the rocking chair and one at the bed. The bed was a regular hospital bed with a really crinkly matress pad.

    It took about 20 minutes to put the electrodes on his head and then wrap it with a bandage. He looked like a character from the movie "Avatar" with all these wire strands hanging off the back of his head.

    Even though we sleep deprived him and the test was during his regular nap time,(usually a solid 3 hours at home) it was really hard to get him to sleep. I was a nervous wreck because I wanted him to sleep, so maybe he was picking up on this vibe. I gave him a 2nd bottle and he fell asleep pretty well for about 45 minutes. I sat in the darkened room and read a book in the rocker. He then woke up and I had a really hard time getting him back to sleep. We ran out of formula to mix and I tried giving him just water. No dice. We just rocked in the chair and after about the 3 hour mark I was D-O-N-E, Done!

    The nurse was really good about cleaning up the electrode goop from Nate's hair. It would have been a good idea to have another shirt. Luckily, his shirt only got a little damp from the wet, soapy rag she used to get the goop off.

    He immediately fell asleep in the carseat as we left. I was ready to cry at that point after all the work I did for 2 hours to get him back to sleep, but I was also so, so glad it was over.

    How old was your child?

    13 months old

    Why was the EEG ordered?

    He has a brain abnormality called hypoplasia of the corpus callosum. Many children with callosal disorders have seizures because the wiring in the brain is all goofed up. Even though he had no outward signs of seizure activity, our neurologist decided to order one so we would at least have a baseline of what his "normal" activity is. If he were to have a seizure in the future, any blips we would find in the EEG could be attributed as being normal for him instead of seizure related.

    How long was your child's EEG?

    It was supposed to be 4 hours of pure Mommy torture. I caved at 3.

    What should I bring?

    Formula, snacks, diapers, lovey/blankie & quiet activities for the little one. Multiply expendable supplies by 2 in case you run out. It is better to be over prepared IMO. For yourself bring a caffinated drink, snack book/magazine and a flashlight. The room will be darkened. Also bring chapstick. Hospitals are dry. No need to suffer in the dark with chapped lips too. They may not let you leave to room to buy snacks. If you bring snacks, bring quiet ones :)

    When/How did you get the results?

    The tech told me that see didn't see anything that day, but that the tapes would be reviewed by another person and they would write the report. We had a follow up appointment with the neurologist for 1 month after the EEG. I called the hospital and requested the results to be faxed to me before that time. We figured the results would be negative and they were. The report was just a 1 page sheet. Had there been something on the report I am sure the neurologist's nurse would have called and scheduled us sooner.

    Do you have any other tips?

    When our neuro wanted to do an EEG I told him I wanted it to be longer to be sure we would catch something if any activity was there. It is my opinion that a short EEG (less than an hour) is sort of a crap shoot unless your child is having multiple seizures all day long.  Also, EEG's are a royal PITA. I would rather up my odds and have one session of sleep deprivation and anxiety than to have to repeat the whole process again because we didn't catch something the first time.

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  • PaigeoPaigeo member

    Please share your EEG experience.

    How old was your child?  She has had 4: 2 wks, 4 months, 18 months and 3 yrs

    Why was the EEG ordered? Seizures which started at 2 wks old.

    How long was your child's EEG? The one at 2wks the actual test was 2 hours.  The rest were only 1 hour.  For out patient ones total time from getting there to leaving was about 2 hours (for the 1 hr test).   They 1st have to measure out all the points on your child's head and mark them with a china marker type pen.  They then have to attach all the leads which takes awhile.  After the test they have to remove leads and will wash out the gunk from their hair.  This process was certainly easier when DD was a baby and had no hair!

    What should I bring? Comfort items. Books to read to them.  Stuffed animals.  Hardest part for my DD as she got older was to have to lay still for so long so I would try to keep her occupie by reading books, doing plays with her animals, etc.

    When/How did you get the results? In the hospital we would get them whenever the doctor rounded so within a day.  Out patient someone from our clinic would call within 1-3 days.

    Do you have any other tips? Try to time the test for naptime since they have to sleep during the test.  For the last one the only time slot they had was pretty early in the morning.  Despite waking her up in the middle of the night and keeping her awake till the test she never fell asleep during the EEG.  Of course she fell asleep on the car ride home!


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  • How old was your child?

    3 1/2 both times

    Why was the EEG ordered?

    possible seizures and seizures run in dh's family

    How long was your child's EEG?

    maybe an hour the first time and 8 hrs the second time

    What should I bring?

    entertainment (book, magazines, videos, etc.), phone, snacks, blanket, lovey, lotion.

    When/How did you get the results?

    I got the first results from the hospital nurse/doctor when I called in and from his neurologist the second time. 

    Do you have any other tips?

    don't be afraid to ask questions and common courtesy for those caring for your child goes a long way. 

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  • Please share your EEG experience.

    How old was your child? 3 - almost 4

    Why was the EEG ordered? Son has "twitches".  Neuro wanted to rule out seizures.

    How long was your child's EEG? 30 minutes for the actual test but it took the woman FOREVER to get the leads on his head.

    What should I bring? We brought our IPAD so he could watch a movie the entire time.  We also brought treats to bribe him into laying still.

    When/How did you get the results?  We received our results from our Neuro the next morning by 9AM.

    Do you have any other tips?  Keeping a 3 year old still for almost an hour is impossible.  Stay calm and hope you have a quick tech!  We played "mummy" at home for a few days before doing the EEG.  The object of the game was to lay really still and the first person who moved or sat up lost - giggling was allowed :)

  • Please share your EEG experience.

    How old was your child? newborn to about 7 months.  He had 7 or 8 EEGs total - all before he was about 7 months.

    Why was the EEG ordered? Seizures starting 6 hours after birth

    How long was your child's EEG? Usually one hour

    What should I bring? Soft washcloths to clean their head after - they will be covered in goo, and they never got him completely cleaned off.  I also would bring a new shirt - our tech always used a bunch of water to soften the tape/leads before pulling them off and his shirt was always wet when she was done.  

    When/How did you get the results?  In the NICU - we got them usually the next day; out-patient, our neuro would call us usually the same day or next day.

    Do you have any other tips?  Wear comfy clothes and bring a sweater - it is usually freezing in hospitals!


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    Carson Henry, born 39w, 2d, via emergency c/s due to no fetal movement and fetal distress.  Seizures, IVH grade 2, brain injury, kidney and liver damage.  Complete blood clot in the artery in his right arm.  27 days in the NICU.  Now discharged from all specialists, excepts his kidney doctor, who will monitor him indefinitely.  My tough little cookie.

  • Please share your EEG experience.

    How old was your child?  18 months

    Why was the EEG ordered? My daughter has developmental delays and her pedi ordered the EEG to check for seizure activity.

    How long was your child's EEG?  About an hour.

    What should I bring?  Comfort items.  Blanket, pacifier, entertainment

    When/How did you get the results?  Our pedi called with the results about 4 days after the EEG.

    Do you have any other tips?  My daughter had to go in twice.  The first time she went in she was fighting the tech that was doing the procedure.  In my opinion the tech that did it was horrible.  It was one of the worst experiences of my life, and it was horrible to watch my daughter go through that.  We rescheduled another test and my doctor gave me instructions to give her more Benadryl in hopes that she would be sleepy and wouldn't fight the tech as much.  The Benadryl didn't help, but the tech was much better the second time around (I requested a different person), and I also made sure my husband was able to come with.  I think it's important that both parents be there.  I think it really helped our DD as well because one of us could hold her down while the other could talk to her and try to sooth her.  

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  • How old was your child?   Joey was 3 years 3 months.  Nathan was 3 years 7 months.

    Why was the EEG ordered?  Joey had seizure like activity (vomiting, defecating, non-responsive verbally, floppy all during sleep) that prompted me to bring him to the hospital twice, once Joey's was diagnosed and Nathan started with the same issues the neurologist ordered his immediately.  

    How long was your child's EEG?   Both were 1 hour ones that lasted maybe 45 min. once the leeds were on

    What should I bring?  I just brought their lovey blankets because our goals was to get them asleep.  

    When/How did you get the results?  The tech apologized for not getting a seizure recorded, which gave me false hope that everything was ok only to get called by the neurologist the next day indicating they were both in fact showing very classic seizure brain activity on the EEG. 

    Do you have any other tips?  Ours were both really easy because my boys didn't mind having the leeds put on you could bring a book or tablet to distract them, but they were fine just chatting with the tech.  We scheduled it during a later afternoon so I was able to then get them to sleep.  They even ask to have another one each time we visit the hospital (c:  


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  • My daughter was 2 years, 3 months during her EEG.
    Dd had what appeared to be a seizure in my arms and I brought her to the ER.
    I brought candy as a reward and the iPad. Luckily dd didn't need them.
    The EEG was scheduled to be one hour, but we were out of there in 30 minutes. She fell asleep quickly and they caught seizure activity pretty early on.
    I got the results five days later at a neuro follow up. It was epilepsy. They told me if they saw anything they'd tell me right away so I was kind of blindsided.
    My best advice is to wear your kid out beforehand. Dh took the day off work and we took her to the children's museum and park prior. We scheduled it a few hours after nap time and since she was so tuckered out from all the fun of the morning she passed right out.
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  • Please share your EEG experience.

    How old was your child?  8 years

    Why was the EEG ordered? He was having what we thought were absence seizures.

    How long was your child's EEG?  About an hour.

    What should I bring?  Comfort items.  Our pediatrician wanted a sleep deprived test so we had to keep him up until midnight, then wake him up at 4 in the morning and keep him awake until the test.  He had to sleep during the test, having his "blankie" helped.  If I had to do it again I would also bring some sort of pillow and or actual blanket.  Once hooked up the nurse told my son to go to sleep, but he was having trouble. I finally asked for a blanket and pillow, which they didn't have.  We were able to get a sheet to cover him with and used my coat as a pillow.  He was able to sleep after that.  I know I would have trouble falling asleep on a hard table with no pillow or blankets!

    When/How did you get the results?  It took about 2 weeks, but there was an issue with the fax number they sent the results to.  So when I called after not hearing for two weeks the issue was resolved and test results came within a few days after that.

    Do you have any other tips? 
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