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AHN Comprehensive Epilepsy Center
Allegheny General Hospital is home to a level 4 epilepsy center, the highest ranking from the National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC). A level 4 center provides advanced neurodiagnostic monitoring, and extensive medical, neurophysical, and psychosocial treatments for epilepsy. It also offers a broad range of surgical procedures.
We have even more ways for you to control your epilepsy. We provide medication management, and the latest minimally invasive and advanced surgical procedures so you can manage your care and get your life back.
AHN Comprehensive Epilepsy Center
320 East North Avenue, Suite 206
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Epilepsy care at AHN: Why choose us?
People with epilepsy choose AHN because of our:
Our board-certified neurologists and neurosurgeons have in-depth (fellowship) training in epilepsy care, and we treat more patients with epilepsy than most hospitals in western Pennsylvania.
Allegheny General Hospital is accredited by the NAEC as a level 4 epilepsy center. Level 4 epilepsy centers have the professional expertise and facilities to provide the highest level medical and surgical evaluation and treatment for patients with complex epilepsy.
Advanced diagnostic testing
At our Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, located at Allegheny General Hospital, we use sophisticated technology to learn more about your seizures, in a safe and controlled environment. This testing helps us recommend treatments that are more likely to be effective for you.
Your care team — including epileptologists (neurologists with training in epilepsy), neurosurgeons, and psychologists – work together to streamline your diagnosis and treatment.
Novel treatment options
If medication does not control your symptoms, we offer a full range of sophisticated surgical solutions, including advanced seizure mapping with intracranial electrodes, seizure focus resections, and laser ablations. We also have extensive expertise in performing innovative neuromodulation procedures, where we implant a small device into the body to override the electrical currents causing seizures. We have successfully performed vagus nerve stimulation surgery for two decades, before this therapy was widely available. We also offer the innovative NeuroPace procedure and deep brain stimulation for multifocal epilepsy.
Wide-ranging support services
It is common to experience anxiety, depression, or other uncomfortable feelings due to the uncertainties of living with epilepsy. We provide education, support groups, and resources through the Epilepsy Foundation of Western Pennsylvania to support you through any emotional challenges.
Focus on research
Our epilepsy specialists are national leaders in epilepsy research. This focus helps us offer promising treatments, such as novel medications, before they are widely available.
Epilepsy Monitoring Unit
Our state-of-the-art testing facility (EMU) for individualized seizure evaluation for epilepsy treatment provides video and continuous EEG monitoring to help localize your seizures. You will be guided by our multi-disciplinary treatment team which includes:
- Nurse specialists
- EMU technologists
- Clinical EEG technologists
- Epilepsy fellows
- Neurology residents
- Case managers
- Social workers
Typical length of stay
Depending on your specific circumstances and frequency of seizures. Most patients stay about 5 days. This will be discussed with you ahead of time so that you can plan for being admitted to the facility for 5 consecutive days.
- Continuous Video monitoring: 5 days
- Stereo Electroencephalogram (SEEG): 7-14 days
Planning your stay
What to bring
- Personal care items
- Books, games, crafts
- Loose fitting clothing including shirts that button up the front
- Sleep mask (if necessary)
- CPAP machine or other home medical equipment you currently use
- Photo identification
For additional questions about what to expect and what to bring for your EMU stay, please call (412) 359-8842.
Visitors and family members
We understand how important having a loved one around can be for a patient’s stay with us. Please consult our current Coronavirus Visitor Policy for up-to-date information about visitor limitations and safety guidelines.
If you need more information about the hospital, please reference Allegheny General’s patient and visitor guide.
What to expect?
Arrival – Registration
When you arrive at Allegheny General Hospital (AGH), please report to the Check in desk on the first floor, of Snyder Pavilion. Be sure to arrive on time so you can be admitted to your private EMU room. You will be escorted to your room.
During your stay – tracking seizures
While you’re admitted to the EMU, your medications may be temporarily reduced or gradually stopped. This enables the EMU staff to record and analyze your seizures while they are happening.
During your hospital stay, you will be recorded on audio and video wearing the EEG electrodes 24 hours a day. It is important to understand you need to stay in bed as much as possible so that the equipment can capture seizures as they happen. We understand that this process could be frustrating, but this is the best way for us to safely monitor you and capture the information about your seizure that enables us to create your personalized treatment plan.
Please note: Audio and video will not be captured when you use the bathroom. Also, you will not be permitted to shower when wearing electrodes on your scalp because they must stay dry. After monitoring is completed and the electrodes are removed, you are free to take a shower.
For your safety, a button will be at your bedside for you to press if you feel a seizure happening, including auras you typically experience before the seizure begins. Your visitor can also press the button for you. You will be safely under observation at all times, so discuss any concerns with your doctor and nurse.
About the AHN Comprehensive Epilepsy Center
Our physicians are highly experienced in performing the latest epilepsy treatments, including innovative neuromodulation procedures such as vagus nerve stimulation surgery and robotic procedures. See what makes these treatments so effective by learning more about epilepsy.