Epilepsy Monitoring Unit

Epilepsy Monitoring Unit

The Pediatric Epilepsy Program at Akron Children’s Hospital features a state-of-the-art Epilepsy Monitoring Unit that uses advanced video electroencephalogram (EEG) technologies to simultaneously record brain wave activity and video. This allows our epileptologists to determine if an episode originates from the brain as well as identify the specific areas of the brain involved, which provides valuable information to aid in diagnosis and treatment of the most complex patients.

The Pediatric Epilepsy Program is recognized by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC) as a Level 4 Epilepsy Center, the highest designation. Level 4 epilepsy centers have the professional expertise and facilities to provide the highest level medical and surgical evaluation and treatment for patients with complex epilepsy.

Your child may be placed on the unit if:

A parent or adult family member who knows the child’s medical history will assist with monitoring by pressing an event button when an episode occurs.

Known triggers may also be used so we can capture seizures or other episodes on video in a controlled environment. This may include stopping medications, hyperventilation, photic stimulation, sleep deprivation and exercise.

Based on the results of the video EEG monitoring, individualized plans for treatment will be made, including referrals for events that are not seizures.

What to expect

Parents play an important role in the success of their child’s care on the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU). This role begins before the child is admitted to the unit. Parents should make sure their child’s hair is washed using only shampoo. Do not use conditioners, gels, crèmes, oils, etc. If head lice are present, the visit will need to be rescheduled by calling 330-543-5160.

Stays on the unit typically last 1 to 5 days, but can be up to 10 days. A parent or caregiver must stay with the child during the entire stay. A family member aged 18 years or older may fill in if arrangements are made before the stay.

Video EEG monitoring begins on the day of admission. An EEG technician will apply 24 electrodes to the patient’s scalp with a glue that has a strong smell. The electrodes will stay on your child’s head during the entire visit.

During monitoring, the parent is asked to alert staff each time an event or spell happens by pressing the event button. Your child must stay in the room at all times during testing. Your child can move about the room but must remain in view of the camera. Patients usually stay on the unit long enough to capture at least 3 to 6 events or spells.

Parents should tell staff if their child has known triggers for these events. The doctor may use these “triggers” to encourage these events. Triggers may include decreasing medications before admission or during the hospital stay, fast, deep breathing, or light stimulation. We may also try to trigger events using exercise or changing the child’s sleep pattern. During a sleep challenge, your child may be kept awake until 4 a.m., awakened at 7 a.m., and then kept awake the rest of the day.

The medical team will discuss your child’s results with you and work with you and your child to create a treatment plan that will help ensure the best quality of life.


Sponge baths are encouraged since the electrodes must remain dry.


Your child can use clothes from home or hospital gowns during the stay. We recommend pajamas and shirts that button or zip on the front or back. The electrodes prevent shirts from being pulled over the head.


To make your child’s stay as comfortable as possible, parents are encouraged to bring items from home, including toys, video games and systems, laptops, movies, coloring books and other favorite activities, as well as blankets and pillows.


Patients receive hospital meals. Family members may buy meals from the cafeteria or order from the room service menu. The cost is about $7 per meal. Meal tickets for families are not available for elective admissions. Parents or families can buy or bring in snacks and meals as they choose. Each patient room has a dorm-size refrigerator. A microwave, ice machine and full-size refrigerator are also available on the unit.

epilepsy monitoring unit

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