Electroencephalogram In Children
What you should know
An electroencephalogram (EEG) measures the electrical activity in your child's brain. An EEG can help caregivers diagnose brain conditions such as seizures and brain tumors.
Care AgreementYou have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child.
The flashing light or fast breathing may cause your child to have a seizure during the EEG. Trained caregivers will be there to help him. If your child does not have this test, caregivers may not be able to treat your child's illness.
The week before your child's procedure:
- Write down the correct date, time, and location of your child's procedure.
- When you take your child to see his caregiver, bring a list of his medicines or the medicine bottles. Tell caregivers if your child uses herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine. If your child is allergic to any medicine, tell his caregiver.
- Ask if your child needs to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before his procedure.
- Talk to your child about the EEG. Explain to him that he must lie very still with his eyes closed during the EEG. Also explain to him that there will be electrodes attached to wires placed on his head.
The night before the procedure:
- Wash your child's hair before the EEG. Do not put any hair spray, oil, gel, or conditioners on your child's hair or scalp.
- Ask your child's caregiver if your child should be sleep-deprived for his EEG. Sleep-deprived means that your child will get less than his usual amount of sleep the night before the procedure. This is done so that your child is able to sleep during the EEG.
The day of the procedure:
- You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery on your child. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
- Do not give your child any caffeine the morning of the test. Caffeine may change the result of your child's EEG.
- Give your child a regular meal before the EEG. This will prevent your child's blood sugar from dropping too low. Low blood sugar can change the result of your child's EEG.
- Bring your child's favorite stuffed animal, toy, or blanket to the EEG. This may help your child feel more comfortable during the EEG.
What will happen:
- Your child's EEG will be done in a room that is dark and quiet. Your child will either lie in a bed or sit in a reclining chair during the test. A caregiver will talk to your child about the EEG. The caregiver will clean 16 to 25 areas of your child's scalp. Then, a gel or cream will be placed on these areas. Electrodes (sensors) will be placed on the gel or cream. The electrodes will be connected with wires to a machine or computer. An electrode may also be put on each earlobe.
- Your child must lie very still with his eyes closed. He must try to relax. He must not talk during the test. Your child may need to breathe deeply and quickly for 2 to 3 minutes. Your child may be asked to look into a bright flashing light. Your child may be allowed to sleep during the EEG. He may be videotaped during the EEG.
After the procedure:
The electrodes and wires will be removed. Your child's caregiver will remove the cream or gel from your child's scalp and hair. Most EEGs are done in 90 minutes or less. Your child's caregiver may talk to you about the EEG results before you leave. Your child's caregiver may send a letter to explain your child's EEG results within 7 days.
Contact a caregiver if
- Your child cannot make it to his procedure.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.
Seek Care Immediately if
Your child's symptoms get worse.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.