Epilepsy

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes recurring seizures. An abnormal area in your brain sometimes sends bursts of electrical activity that cause your seizures. A birth defect, tumor, stroke, dementia, injury, or infection may cause epilepsy. The cause of your epilepsy may not be known. If your seizures are not controlled, epilepsy may become life-threatening.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

RISKS:

After a seizure you may feel confused or have a headache. The recovery phase can last minutes or up to 2 weeks. Epilepsy may increase your risk for depression and anxiety. Fear of seizures may affect your independence, such as driving, employment, and social relationships. Seizures can cause serious injury or sudden death.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Medicines:

  • Antiseizure medicine will help control your seizures.

  • Antianxiety medicines may been given for immediate control of a seizure. These may be given orally, rectally, or though an IV.

Monitoring:

  • Pulse oximetry measures how much oxygen is in your blood.

  • Telemetry is continuous monitoring of your heart rhythm. Sticky pads placed on your skin connect to an EKG machine that records your heart rate and rhythm.

  • Arterial blood gas (ABG) measures how much oxygen and carbon dioxide are in your blood.

Tests:

  • Blood and urine tests will show if you have an infection. These tests can also give information about your overall health, such as kidney function.

  • An EEG records the electrical activity of your brain. It is used to find changes in the normal patterns of your brain activity.

  • A CT scan or an MRI takes pictures of your brain to check for abnormal areas. You may be given dye to help the pictures show up better. Tell the caregiver if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the caregiver if you have anything metal in or on your body.

Treatment:

  • Oxygen may be given if your blood oxygen level is lower than it should be.

  • Surgery may help reduce how often you have seizures if medicine does not help. Ask your caregiver for more information about surgery for epilepsy.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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.

Learn more about Epilepsy (Inpatient Care)

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