Epilepsy Center

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Overview

In Kentucky and Southern Indiana alone, more than 90,000 people have epilepsy, demonstrating a vital need for a comprehensive epilepsy team.

Epilepsy is the third-most common neurological disorder in the United States after Alzheimer’s disease and stroke. Between 30 percent and 40 percent of the 2.7 million Americans diagnosed with a seizure disorder have seizures that are not well controlled by medication. Others have their epilepsy untreated or misdiagnosed.

That is why the University of Louisville Hospital Epilepsy Center is such a critical resource for our community and state. Our center is one of only a few Level IV Epilepsy Centers in the region, meaning we have the ability to do everything from diagnosing epilepsy to performing surgery when appropriate.

Our Epilepsy Center has a state-of-the-art monitoring unit and dedicated nurses and physicians who have the experience and expertise needed to provide comprehensive epilepsy services.

About Epilepsy

Epilepsy is the occurrence of more than one unprovoked seizure. The seizures cause a disturbance in behavior and affect the brain’s ability to function optimally. There are still unknowns about the disease, but many epilepsy cases can be controlled with medication, surgery or a combination of the two.

The UofL Hospital Epilepsy Center has neurologists with specialized training who manage the care of patients in the unit and help direct the appropriate treatment path.

In the event a patient with epilepsy could potentially benefit from surgery, the epilepsy team of neurologists, neurosurgeons and a neuropsychologist meet to discuss the individual patient's case and determine what treatment path is best.

The range of services at the UofL Hospital Epilepsy Center include the latest in seizure monitoring, diagnosis and medical and surgical treatments.

Treating Epilepsy

There is no cure for epilepsy, but medications, surgery and implantable devices can often help control seizures. Medication therapy is usually the first treatment used. If anti-epileptic drugs do not help, surgery is sometimes an option depending on the location of the seizures and other patient factors. Epilepsy surgery involves removing seizure-causing areas of the brain. Implantable devices are another option for those whose seizures cannot be controlled by medication.

One type of device is the vagus nerve stimulator, which stimulates the vagus nerve in the neck to reduce seizure frequency. The other device is the RNS system. It monitors the brain's electrical activity and sends an electrical stimulation directly to the source of the seizure. Stimulation is not felt by the patient, and is designed to normalize the brain's electrical activity before the patient has a seizure.   

Epilepsy Monitoring Unit

The Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) at UofL Hospital is a state-of-the-art facility staffed 24 hours a day by nurses who are specially trained to care for epilepsy patients. The unit allows our epilepsy team to truly diagnose whether or not a seizure is occurring.

The only program of this kind in the region, our Epilepsy Monitoring Unit is dedicated to providing quality care, diagnosis and treatment.

The EMU provides:

  • Prolonged video-EEG monitoring services 
  • Leading-edge technology that allows for continuous, synchronized recording of EEG (brain waves) and video/audio of seizures
  • Accurate determination of seizure type
  • Pinpoint identification of the brain area generating the seizures

A family member is encouraged to accompany the patient throughout his or her stay. The unit features large, comfortable, private rooms that are fully equipped and monitored throughout the night by epilepsy nursing staff.

During monitoring in the EMU, seizure medications may be decreased or temporarily discontinued. Prior to discharge from the hospital, medications are reintroduced and/or modified based on the information obtained.

Electrodiagnostic Services

  • 24-hour video EEG monitoring with surface electrodes with continuous monitoring
  • 24-hour video EEG with intracranial electrodes under continuous monitoring by a nurse technologist
  • Intracarotid amobarbital (WADA) testing - looks at memory and language functions by putting one cerebral hemisphere to sleep with a short-acting anesthetic and studying what functions are still working in the other hemisphere
  • Functional cortical mapping - used to locate the focal point of seizures
  • Electrocorticography - using electrodes directly on brain surface to record electrical activity

EMU40 EEG

The Epilepsy Center has access to an EMU40™ EEG amplifier. Its wireless technology allows patients to move around the Epilepsy Center while still being monitored by epilepsy specialists, ensuring safe patient care. The EMU40™ EEG is able to accurately measure a patient’s physiology even when they are in motion.

Dr. Steven Evans, Neurologist

Dr. Christopher Shafer, Neurologist

Dr. Adriana Palade, Neurologist

  • University of Louisville Department of Neurology
  • Epilepsy Information from the CDC
  • The Epilepsy Foundation of Kentuckiana
  • Epilepsy Advocate
  • Epilepsy.com

For more information about epilepsy treatments available at UofL Hospital, to set up an appointment in our epilepsy monitoring unit or to speak to one of our staff, Contact Us.