February 20, 2014

Epilepsy affects one percent of the population and is more common than multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease combined. Because of the complexity of managing and treating epilepsy and the significant social and psychological impact that epilepsy can have on patients and their families, patients can benefit greatly from being managed through specialized centers.

The Saint Luke’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center is recognized by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC) as a Level IV center which is the highest designation given. In order to earn this designation, it means Saint Luke's Comprehensive Epilepsy Center is able to provide the full range of advanced diagnostic and treatment options including epilepsy surgery. For patients with epilepsy that is not responsive to medication management, a multidisciplinary team approach involving three fellowship-trained epilepsy specialists, neurosurgeons, a psychiatrist, a neuropsychologist, and an advanced practice nurse all work together to determine if resective brain surgery would be the best treatment option. If the patient is not a candidate for resective brain surgery, treatment alternatives such as implantation with a vagal nerve stimulator, additional medication trials, or possibly involvement in a clinical research trial are then considered. The mission of the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center is to maximize patients’ quality of life by attempting to find the best balance between seizure frequency and treatment-related side effects. Ideally, we strive for seizure freedom with no adverse treatment side effects.

While Saint Luke’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center has the expertise to evaluate and manage patients with seizures that are not responsive to medications, we manage the full range of patients with epilepsy and seizures. Therefore, we evaluate patients with first-time seizures as well as patients with episodes where it is not clear if they are having seizures or not. We have an eight-bed Epilepsy Monitoring Unit in the Saint Luke's Marion Bloch Neuroscience Institute that gives us the capability of performing continuous video EEG monitoring. This allows us to characterize clinical episodes and determine if they represent seizures or nonepileptic events. The video EEG monitoring also gives us the capability of being able to localize seizure onset which is used to determine if the patient might be a candidate for surgical resection as a treatment option for their epilepsy.

Outpatient visits are available at the Broadway Medical Building adjacent to Saint Luke’s Hospital as well as Saint Luke’s East Hospital, Saint Luke’s North Hospital, and Saint Luke’s South Hospital. For patient referrals, appointments can be arranged by calling 816-960-7600.