Clinical Neurosciences Center

Epilepsy Center Gains National Certifications

Improving care for patients with Epilepsy is key goal of expanding program

June 7, 2010

SALT LAKE CITY ¿ An estimated 3 million people have epilepsy in the United States, including roughly 18,000 in Utah and 52,000 in the Intermountain West. Approximately 10 percent of all Americans will suffer at least one seizure during their lives. For those touched by seizures, access to the best diagnostic tools and medical care is critical.Â

The EEG Laboratory at the University of Utah Comprehensive Epilepsy Program, part of the University¿s Clinical Neurosciences Center, has earned accreditation by the EEG Accreditation Board of the American Board of Registered Electroencephalographic and Evoked Potentials Technologists (ABRET).

ABRET¿s Lab Accreditation process evaluated technical standards, the quality of the laboratory¿s output and lab management. Successful accreditation means the EEG Laboratory has met strict standards and is to be recognized as a place where physicians and patients can have confidence they are receiving quality diagnostics.

Electroencephalography (EEG) is the recording of electrical activity produced by the firing of neurons within the brain as recorded from electrodes placed on the scalp. In neurology, the main diagnostic application of EEG is in the case of epilepsy, as epileptic activity can create clear abnormalities on a standard EEG study.

¿Evaluation by EEG is the first and most important step in the diagnosis of seizures,¿ says Awais Riaz, MD, PhD, Director of the Clinical Neurophysiology Laboratory at the University of Utah. ¿The diagnostic expertise with EEG and other methods at the University of Utah is unparalleled in the intermountain region. Our goal is to help our patients understand their seizures and apply the most appropriate treatment option for their individual condition.¿

University of Utah Health Care¿s Comprehensive Epilepsy Program also received re-accreditation as a Level 4 (highest) Epilepsy Center as designated by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC). Level 4 Centers must be able to provide the most complex forms of intensive neurodiagnostics monitoring, as well as more extensive medical, neuropsychological, and psychosocial treatment. Fourth-level centers also offer a complete evaluation for epilepsy, surgery, including intracranial electrodes, MEG, and provide a broad range of surgical procedures for epilepsy.

According to Stefan-M. Pulst, M.D., Professor and Chair of the University¿s Department of Neurology, specialized diagnostics can improve quality of life for people with epilepsy. ¿Care for people with epilepsy has improved dramatically over the last decade,¿ Pulst said. ¿At advanced epilepsy centers such as ours, we have expertise in diagnosis and in medical and surgical therapies to manage, and in many cases eliminate, an individual¿s seizures. Careful and accurate evaluation from a certified EEG Lab is the foundation for this expert care and treatment, and access to the full range of treatment options means the best care for patients with epilepsy.¿

The Comprehensive Epilepsy Program team includes fellowship-trained epileptologists and neurosurgeons along with nurse practitioners, nurses, technicians and others with specialty training in the diagnosis and management of epilepsy. For patient referrals and information, call the Clinical Neurosciences Center at 801-575-7575.

About ABRET:

ABRET is the credentialing board for EEG, Evoked Potential, Long-Term Monitoring, and Neurophysiologic Intraoperative Monitoring Technologists. The American Society of Electroencephalographic Technologists (ASET) and the American EEG Society (AEEGS - now the American Clinical Neurophysiology Society) organized ABRET in 1964. The Laboratory Accreditation Board was founded in 2004.

About NAEC:

The National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC) is a non-profit 501c6 trade association with a membership of more than 100 specialized epilepsy centers in the United States. The primary objectives of NAEC are to connect people with epilepsy to specialized epilepsy care, and to support epileptologists and administrators in the operation of their epilepsy centers.Â

Founded in 1987 by physician leaders committed to setting a national agenda for quality epilepsy care, the NAEC educates public and private policymakers, and regulators about appropriate patient care standards, reimbursement and medical services policies. NAEC works in conjunction with existing scientific and charitable epilepsy organizations.