Some Tips and Tricks from EEG Technologists and Patients Who have Participated in Long-term Studies
Ambulatory EEG studies can be very beneficial in helping diagnose epilepsy. With modern EEG technology, these studies are less invasive than ever. This doesn’t mean these recordings are without inconveniences for the patient, however a few tips can help ensure the study is more comfortable and successful. Long-term EEG studies must continue uninterrupted, usually for 72-96 hours. This means a patient will have electrodes attached to their scalp for up to three days – and the patient will need to get some well-earned sleep eventually. It’s important to know how to sleep with ambulatory EEG – whether you’re a patient or an EEG technologist. Here are some tips to help anyone fall asleep comfortably and naturally without interfering with the EEG recording equipment.
Keep the Device and Wires Above the Head
This next step is something EEG techs should take extra caution to tell their patients: keep the wires neatly bundled and above your head when sleeping, if possible. If the bundle of wires is going up and over the pillow while a patient sleeps, the chances of the patient getting tangled up in their own wires decreases if they flip over during the night. Young children especially may not consider this when they go to bed, so make sure they are aware before you leave.
There are many tools that you can use to help a patient get a good night’s sleep. Keep the head elevated with soft pillows or towels so the electrodes aren’t being jostled as the patient sleeps. If a patient has difficulty sleeping in their bed, try suggesting they use a comfortable reclining chair. This may also be a good suggestion for patients who tend to move or thrash around when they sleep since movement will be limited in the chair.
If possible, use whatever you can to make this process easier for the patient so they can sleep comfortably while encouraging them to follow their standard bedtime procedures. If a patient isn’t sleeping like they normally would, there is the potential for losing valuable data that could lead to an accurate diagnosis. After all, brain activity doesn’t stop when the patient is asleep. It’s important that absence seizures are found during REM sleep if they occur.
Need to Know More?
We have a list of ambulatory EEG dos and don’ts. Patients may have a lot of questions, so we were happy to provide answers.
This educational information is brought to you by Lifelines Neuro. See more of our helpful EEG resources.