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Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center


Neurology section debuts Epilepsy Monitoring Unit

Neurology, EMU, and Stroke Program Coordinator Elizabeth Aprile, RN, is pictured in the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit.

Neurology, EMU, and Stroke Program Coordinator Elizabeth Aprile, RN, helps Veterans who suffer from seizures find answers and relief. Photo by James Arrowood

By JW Huckfeldt, Public Affairs Specialist Trainee
Monday, March 6, 2017

New technology at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center enables its neurology team to “seize the moment,” helping Veterans who suffer from debilitating seizures.

Charleston VAMC activated its first Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) on 3B North in September 2016. The EMU helps the neurology team monitor seizures when they happen. The unit provides continuous tracking on video and electroencephalography (VEEG) to discover the type of seizures a Veteran may be suffering from. Seizures can be due to epilepsy, psychogenic non-epileptic events or cardiac arrhythmias. VEEG monitoring locates where the epileptic seizure takes place in the brain, providing epileptologists with more accurate information, which can lead to more effective medical treatment.

“Neurology is continuing to grow and expand, allowing us to provide this critical service to our Veterans who may not be able to receive EMU treatment elsewhere,” said Neurology, EMU, and Stroke Program Coordinator Elizabeth Aprile, RN. “The EMU provides greater accuracy which will lead to changes to improve treatment in more than 50 percent of patients that we monitor.”

Veterans who receive EMU VEEG monitoring stay in the hospital in a specially-equipped patient room for three to five days to monitor their heart and other vital signs. There is equipment at the nursing station for staff to continuously monitor the Veteran’s progress and quickly respond when a seizure takes place. Charleston VAMC will typically have a support person stay with the Veteran during their treatment.

The EMU gives Veteran’s prone to seizures a chance to get a better understanding of their condition and a chance to possibly increase their quality of life.


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