Monitoring unit

Department of Neurology

Head of Department:
Prof. Dr. med. Dr. h. c. Stefan Schwab

Epilepsy Centre

Spokesman: OA Prof. Dr. med. Hajo Hamer

Monitoring unit

If examinations in the outpatient clinic are not sufficient, patients go on to the monitoring unit, the heart of the Epilepsy Centre. Here, patients undergo video-EEG monitoring, where the patient's behaviour is recorded during a seizure.

Important information on what happens during a seizure is gathered from simultaneous video recording and measuring of brain waves with EEG over a period of several days or weeks. The aim of this simultaneous double image recording is to accurately pinpoint the brain regions where the epileptic event develops.

A completely new system was installed in 2004 and the monitoring unit was extensively renovated in 2011. Erlangen has one of the most state-of-the-art epilepsy centres in the world. One special feature of the video-EEG system is that patients can move around the common and sleeping areas freely during the diagnostic procedure. Previously, patients had to be connected to a monitoring system with a fixed cable. The diagnostic data is digitally recorded and fed into the central department network.

A prerequisite for planning surgical therapy is that seizure foci are located by means of simultaneous double image recording, which is supplemented by further findings from high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), SPECT, PET, neuropsychological tests and patient-friendly, non-contact magnetic field measuring by means of magnetoencephalography (MEG) which is only available in very few epilepsy centres worldwide.

The monitoring procedure may also provide information on whether it is actually an epileptic seizure or a different disease.

Our unit has six beds for the video-EEG monitoring and three further beds. Specially trained physicians, medical technical assistants, nurses, psychologists and the social work unit look after our epilepsy patients and provide assistance during the invasive examinations which they may find strenuous. Physicists, computer scientists and an engineer supporting the Centre are responsible for the highly specialised medical technology and for developing the examination procedures and the associated digital video technology.

Patients undergoing the video-EEG monitoring cannot leave the monitoring unit during their stay but can move freely around their room and our pleasant common area which is equipped with televisions and radios, board games and a small library.