Telemetry Electroencephalogram (EEG) – Adult

Patient Experience

  • Reference Number: HEY1166/2020
  • Departments: Neurology and Neurosurgery, Neurophysiology
  • Last Updated: 31 July 2020


This leaflet has been produced to give you general information about your test. Most of your questions should be answered by this leaflet.  It is not intended to replace the discussion between you and the healthcare team, 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.

What is a telemetry EEG?

A telemetry EEG is very similar to the routine EEG which you may have already had done but, on this occasion, will be conducted as an inpatient within the hospital. Please see your appointment letter for more details regarding this. The electrodes will be placed onto the scalp as before but on this occasion will be further secured with glue and the recording will be stored onto a box placed in a bag, which is carried over your shoulder. The activity is recorded on a computer and a video recording of you is made at the same time. The recording will usually be undertaken for a period of 24 hours but may be longer at your doctor’s request. You will need to remain in the telemetry room during the period of your admission. The procedure is not painful but electrode removal may at times be a little uncomfortable.

Why do I need a telemetry EEG?

Telemetry EEG is usually done in an attempt to capture some of the seizures or episodes that you have been experiencing. The test is most useful on people who are having at least 2 – 3 seizures or episodes per week, giving us the best chance of capturing the seizures or episodes.

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 telemetry 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 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 hair the night before, or the morning of your appointment. Do not apply any hair styling products and ensure the hair is dried thoroughly. The electrodes attach best to clean, dry hair.
  • You 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 or baggy necked item of clothing if need be. It is advisable that skirts or trousers should be worn.
  • You may wish to bring laptops, DVD players and books to pass the time during your admission.
  • Please inform us in advance if you have any special requirements that could help improve your stay.
  • Continue taking all medication as usual unless directed by your doctor.
  • Continue to eat and drink as normal.
  • The purpose of the telemetry EEG is to document one of your habitual seizures or episodes. If you have a seizure or episodes you will be asked to identify, described and log them in the event diary and press the red button that marks the recording.
  • This investigation takes a long time both to record and to review. If you are unable to attend for your appointment, please let us know as soon as possible so we can offer your appointment to someone else.

What will happen?

  • Please see your appointment letter for instructions regarding attending the hospital. Telemetry EEG monitoring is usually carried out on Ward 11 you will be allocated a dedicated room and bed and a nurse looking after you.
  • After arrival on the ward a physiologist will come to prepare the equipment.
  • A detailed history will be taken to confirm the nature of your seizure or episodes.
  • The physiologist will discuss what will happen to you, obtain your verbal consent for the procedure and answer any questions you may have.
  • The physiologist will then measure your head and attach 25 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 to record your brain activity and video simultaneously. The physiologist will check all the equipment is working properly and record a short period of EEG, during which you will be asked to briefly close your eyes.
  • The physiologist will show you your event diary that 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 should use it.
  • 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.
  • The physiologist will check the equipment is working correctly before leaving.
  • Please try and remain in the designated room excepting visits to the toilet throughout your stay in hospital.
  • Please avoid chewing gum.
  • The physiologists will be reviewing the recording remotely during the working day.
  • Should you notice any electrodes have become detached please inform the nursing staff.
  • Once the doctors are satisfied, they have enough recording the electrodes will be removed and the glue removed from the hair. Your hair will then need a good wash and we advise combing conditioner through the hair after washing to help remove any small particles of glue that may have inadvertently been left in the hair.

What happens afterwards?

Once you have left the hospital ward 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 the doctor who referred you for the telemetry EEG. 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 (01482) 675339 / 675388

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.

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