- Reference Number: HEY-662A/2023
- Departments: Neurophysiology
- Last Updated: 29 March 2023
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This leaflet has been produced to give you/your child general information about your/your child’s procedure. Most of your questions should be answered by this leaflet. It is not intended to replace the discussion between you and your doctor, but may act as a starting point for discussion. If after reading it you have any concerns or require further explanation, please discuss this with a member of the healthcare team who has been caring for you/your child.
What is a video ambulatory EEG?
A video ambulatory EEG is very similar to the routine EEG which you or your child may have already had done. The electrodes will be placed onto the scalp as before but on this occasion will be further secured with a glue and the ‘brain waves’ will be recorded onto a box placed into a bag, which is carried over your/your child’s shoulder. You will be given a video camera which will record video and sound alongside the EEG. You will then go home with the electrodes and equipment and return the following day. The recording will usually be undertaken for a period of 24 hours. The procedure is not painful but electrode removal may at times be a little uncomfortable.
Why do I need a video ambulatory EEG?
A video ambulatory EEG is usually done in an attempt to capture some of the seizures/episodes that you/your child have been experiencing. The test is most useful on people who are having at least 2-3 seizures per week, giving us the best chance of capturing the seizures. If your seizure frequency becomes much less than this, please advise the Neurophysiology department so we can decide whether the investigation is still appropriate for you.
Can there be any complications or risks?
Very occasionally people may experience a slight local reaction at the electrode site. This may cause reddening and soreness. These symptoms resolve quickly on removal of the electrodes. If you experience these symptoms, please inform the staff attending to you. The electrode cables running from the head to the recorder can become entangled if not worn under items of clothing or taped along your back. Staff will discuss how to minimise these risks with you.
How do I prepare for the video ambulatory EEG?
Please read the information leaflet. You may want to share the information it contains with your family so that they can be of help and support. There may be information they need to know, especially if they are taking care of you/your child during following this examination.
- It will not be possible to bathe or shower whilst the equipment is attached. Therefore, please take a bath or shower and wash your/your child’s hair prior to your/your child’s appointment. Do not apply any hair styling products and ensure the hair is dried thoroughly. The electrodes attach best to clean, dry hair.
- You/your child will need to wear something that buttons up the front in order that clothing can be removed and changed without the need for going over the head and risk dislodging the electrodes. We are sometimes able to manage with a very loose/baggy necked item of clothing if need be. Please wear skirts or trousers and not dresses/onesies clothing.
- You/your child may wish to bring a hat or wear a hooded, zipped jacket for travelling to and from the hospital but please remove this as soon as you are at home.
- Continue taking all medication as usual.
- Continue to eat and drink as normal.
- The purpose of the ambulatory EEG is to document one of your/your child’s habitual seizures. For this reason, if you are unaware of your seizures, you must arrange for someone to be with you for the period of the recording who will be able to identify them, log them in the event diary and press the button that marks the recording. If you are not able to arrange this, please contact the Neurophysiology department and let them know.
- If the ambulatory is being done on your child, they will need to be observed closely day and night to ensure that no seizures are missed. Again, if you do not think you will be able to manage this, please let the Neurophysiology department know.
- This investigation takes a long time both to record and to review. If you are unable to attend for your appointment, please inform us as soon as possible so we can offer your appointment to someone else.
What will happen?
- On arrival, a physiologist will take you/your child through to the room where the equipment will be attached.
- A detailed history will be taken to confirm the procedure will still be of benefit to you/your child.
- The physiologist will discuss what will happen to you/your child, obtain your verbal consent for the procedure and answer any questions you may have.
- The physiologist will then measure you/your child’s head and attach several small electrodes to the head to record brainwaves and two electrodes on the chest to record the heartbeat.
- The electrodes are connected to the recorder and the physiologist will check all the equipment is working properly and record a short period of EEG, during which you/your child will be asked to briefly close your eyes.
- You will be shown how to replace any electrodes should they become dislodged whilst you are at home and provided with glue and tape to do this.
- The physiologist will show you or your child’s event diary you will need to keep during the recording and explain how this needs to be completed.
- The physiologist will demonstrate the button used to mark the recording and explain when you/your child should use it.
- The physiologist will demonstrate to you how to use the video camera.
- Failure to complete the diary and press the event marker will directly affect the usefulness of the investigation and the value of the information we are able to give to your referring doctor.
- Once the physiologist is satisfied the equipment is working correctly and has answered all your questions you/your child will be able to go home and return the same time the next day.
- Once at home, you must set up the video camera as previously demonstrated and we ask that you/your child try and carry on with normal activities as much as possible. However, it is desirable that you/your child try to stay in the same room for as long as possible for ease of video recording. It is not possible to bathe or shower with the ambulatory EEG in place and please avoid things that may cause a lot of movement, for example fitness classes/sporting activities etc.
- Please avoid chewing gum.
- It is not appropriate for you/your child to go to work or attend school during this procedure.
- A video ambulatory EEG is usually worn for 24 hours so you will have to return to the department after 24 hours to have the equipment removed and the video downloaded. We will attempt to remove all of the glue from your/your child’s hair. At home, your/your child’s hair will need a good wash and we advise combing conditioner through the hair after washing to remove any small particles of glue that may have been left in the hair inadvertently.
What if I/my child does not have a seizure?
The aim of the recording is to try and capture one of you/your child’s habitual episodes/seizures. However, occasionally we are unsuccessful. This does not mean that the investigation has been a waste of time. Recording someone’s EEG for a prolonged period of time can still be very useful. On rare occasions, your doctor may refer you back for a repeat study.
What happens afterwards?
Once you have left the department, the recording will be reviewed by the physiologist and then by a member of the medical team or a senior physiologist who will send a report to your referring doctor.
This usually takes up to two weeks.
Should you require further advice on the issues contained in this leaflet, please do not hesitate to contact the Neurophysiology department on:
(01482) 675339 or (01482) 675318
This leaflet was produced by the Neurophysiology Department, Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and will be reviewed in March 2026.
General Advice and Consent
Most of your questions should have been answered by this leaflet, but remember that this is only a starting point for discussion with the healthcare team.
Consent to treatment
Before any doctor, nurse or therapist examines or treats you, they must seek your consent or permission. In order to make a decision, you need to have information from health professionals about the treatment or investigation which is being offered to you. You should always ask them more questions if you do not understand or if you want more information.
The information you receive should be about your condition, the alternatives available to you, and whether it carries risks as well as the benefits. What is important is that your consent is genuine or valid. That means:
- you must be able to give your consent
- you must be given enough information to enable you to make a decision
- you must be acting under your own free will and not under the strong influence of another person
Information about you
We collect and use your information to provide you with care and treatment. As part of your care, information about you will be shared between members of a healthcare team, some of whom you may not meet. Your information may also be used to help train staff, to check the quality of our care, to manage and plan the health service, and to help with research. Wherever possible we use anonymous data.
We may pass on relevant information to other health organisations that provide you with care. All information is treated as strictly confidential and is not given to anyone who does not need it. If you have any concerns please ask your doctor, or the person caring for you.
Under the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018 we are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of any information we hold about you. For further information visit the following page: Confidential Information about You.
If you or your carer needs information about your health and wellbeing and about your care and treatment in a different format, such as large print, braille or audio, due to disability, impairment or sensory loss, please advise a member of staff and this can be arranged.