Diagnostic utility of an epilepsy monitoring unit

Janice L. Smolowitz, Sarah C. Hopkins, Tracey Perrine, Karen E. Eck, Lawrence J. Hirsch, Mary O.Neil Mundinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Guidelines recommend that patients with persist- ent seizures not responsive to standard antiepileptic drugs after 1 year be referred to specialized epilepsy centers for evaluation, which may include inpatient video-electroencephalographic monitoring. This 1-year retrospective, limited-focus review of 213 admissions and 3-year postdischarge review of epilepsy surgery referrals sought to determine if admission to an inpatient adult epilepsy monitoring unit resulted in a definitive diagnosis, a change in diagnosis or treatment, and whether referral pat- terns were consistent with guidelines. The median duration of time since symptom onset prior to admis- sion was 15 years. At discharge, 87.8% of admissions received a definitive diagnosis. Epilepsy was diag- nosed in 73.3% and excluded in 21.6%. Admissions without epilepsy had been treated with antiepileptic drugs for a median of 9 years. Admission resulted in change in treatment in 79%. This review documents the diagnostic utility of an epilepsy monitoring unit while highlighting that time since symptom onset to admission exceeded established guidelines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-122
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Quality
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2007


  • Adults
  • Epilepsy/diagnosis/epidemiology
  • Inpatients/statistics
  • Monitoring
  • Retrospective studies
  • Seizures/diagnosis/etiology/physiopathology
  • Videotape recording


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