Epilepsy Northwest News & Blog

Please note that advice in this section is for educational purposes only.

Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider regarding your personal health issues.

Archive for 2007

Pregnancy and Women with Epilepsy

David G. Vossler, M.D.

Epilepsy Center at Washington Neuroscience Institute
Renton, Washington

Pregnancy is probably the most complex issue for women with epilepsy (WWE). One-half of 1% of all pregnancies occur in women with epilepsy. The pregnant WWE must balance the risks posed by seizures with the risks associated with antiepileptic drug (AED) exposure. Seizure frequency is increased in roughly one-third of women during pregnancy, but it remains the same in another third, and may actually decrease in another third.

A major concern is pregnancy complications. WWE whose seizures are poorly controlled have higher rates of toxemia, vaginal bleeding, premature labor, failure to progress in delivery, and cesarean section. The infants have higher death rates, decreased fetal growth and health, and a higher risk of intrauterine growth retardation. Well-treated patients, however, mostly have typical pregnancies and deliveries. Therefore, planning ahead for pregnancy with your health-care provider and keeping your seizures as well-controlled as possible with the proper medication are both extremely important.
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Dense Array EEG & Epilepsy

Mark D. Holmes MD

Professor, Department of Neurology
Regional Epilepsy Center
University of Washington, Seattle WA

The evaluation of a person with epilepsy requires a thorough assessment, including a detailed clinical examination, and use of several laboratory studies, especially brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and, depending upon circumstances, neuropsychological testing, and a variety of hematologic and biochemical assays. However, the single most important laboratory study in understanding the nature of the seizure disorder in the affected patient remains, more than 70 after its invention, the electroencephalogram (EEG), The EEG records the electrical activity of the brain, and discloses the abnormal electrical patterns which are the hallmarks of the fundamental disturbance in epilepsy. Regardless of this critical role, standard EEG nevertheless has some severe limitations. One of these is that typically only 16-21 electrodes are applied to the scalp in conventional recordings, a practice that leads to relatively large distances between the recording electrodes. This, in turn, results in the long-held observation that localization of abnormal findings from standard EEG is usually very poor.
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