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EEG (Electroencephalography)

What is an EEG and what does it do?

An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a test that detects and records the electrical activity of your brain. Small metal electrodes are attached directly to your scalp. The brain cells communicate via electrical impulses and are active all the time, even when someone is asleep.  An EEG is a main diagnostic test physicians use to help diagnosis epilepsy or other brain disorders. An EEG can also be used to determine brain death in someone in a persistent coma.

Who performs the test?

The test is performed by a licensed Respiratory Therapist.

Where does it take place?

At Jackson Hospital in the Cardiology Department.

How long does it take?

This test can take 1-2 hours.

What should I do to make it a success?

Please be sure to bring your doctor’s orders with you the day of your test. Allow 15 minutes to register. Carefully follow all preparation guidelines prior to your exam.

What should I do before the exam?

  • Please wash hair the night before your test. DO NOT use conditioners, oils, hair creams, sprays, or styling gels. This will affect how well the electrodes will attach to the scalp and will affect the test results.
  • Avoid caffeine after midnight the day of your test.
  • Take your usual medications unless instructed otherwise.
  • Please remove all hair pieces or braids prior to the arrival for the test. The technician will need to able to access your scalp.
  • If the doctor orders a sleep deprived EEG, please try not to sleep more than 4 hours the night before your test.

For a child:

  • Try to schedule the test around the child’s normal nap time schedule. If sleep deprived, schedule for early a.m. appointment.
  • Feed the child immediately before the EEG. The child will not be able to suck on bottle or pacifier during the EEG.
  • Bring familiar items (blanket, toy, etc.).
  • The physician may order a mild sedative to be given 30 minutes prior to arrival for the study with a 2nd dose to be given upon arrival to the EEG department.

What happens during the exam?

You will be asked to lie on your back on a bed or sit in a comfortable recliner chair. The technician will measure your head and mark your scalp for electrode placement. After all the electrodes are attached and tested the test will begin. You just need to relax and be prepared to some simple tasks during the test.

What should I do after the exam?

  • Once all the electrodes have been removed by the technician, you may resume normal activities. Please note if you are given a sedative for the test, you need to make arrangements for someone to drive you home. You will need to stay home and rest until the sedative has worn off.

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