Morton Plant Hospital's Epilepsy Clinic is at the forefront of medical care for adolescents and adults with epilepsy.
- We offer state-of-the-art diagnostic testing and therapeutic techniques, including surgical treatment.
- Our comprehensive approach reduces or eliminates seizures and allows our patients to lead normal lives.
- We also offer comprehensive care for elderly patients, where epilepsy most often occurs as a result of a stroke, Alzheimer’s or other degenerative diseases, trauma, brain tumor or other medical condition.
Diagnosing the type of seizure and epileptic condition is critical to recommending the most appropriate treatment. We take a thorough history of each patient, including past history of seizures and descriptions of seizures as well as potential risk factors (such as a history of seizures associated with fever during childhood, head trauma, brain infections, family history of seizures, birth injuries or birth defects).
An epileptologist (epilepsy specialist) conducts a detailed interview and physical exam to evaluate neurological deficits such as an impairment of movement, sensation, vision, hearing, language, and cognition. Further tests for memory and language localization are done by a neuropsychologist.
Our clinic also conducts sophisticated studies of the brain including electroencephalogram (EEG), ictal single-photon-emission computed tomography (SPECT), and positron emission tomography (PET). The EEG measures brain wave activity, which can show abnormalities suggestive of a seizure tendency or risk. A long-term digital video-EEG recording helps in localizing the area of onset of the seizures and is a standard tool for presurgical evaluation. SPECT and PET tests help determine the area of the brain that is malfunctioning and causing the seizures.
Epilepsy Treatment Options
A leading provider of state-of-the-art care for pediatric and adult patients with epilepsy, we offer a wide range of prescription medications and surgical and non-surgical therapies that have proven to be effective at reducing or eliminating seizures.
For some pediatric patients, a special diet (ketogenic diet), similar to a low-carbohydrate diet, may be effective at controlling seizures. Many patients achieve significant benefits from proven antiepileptic drugs and do not require further therapies.
Patients who do not respond to diet or antiepileptic drugs may be considered for surgery. Most surgeries for epilepsy involve removing the diseased portion of the brain that is causing the seizures. In most cases, this section of the brain has not been functioning normally for a long period of time.
The location of the diseased area of the brain plays a large role in determining whether a patient is a candidate for surgery. For example, 85 to 95 percent of patients who undergo surgery in the temporal lobe area of the brain experience no further seizures (or at least a significant decrease in seizure frequency) and exhibit no significant negative effects from the surgery.
We are one of only a few area facilities offering new technologies that enhance the accurate detection of the source of a patient’s seizures. One of these technologies is brain mapping, which uses 3-D computer images of the brain to determine the precise location of seizure activity in the brain, in relation to functional areas of the brain. Another involves a recording of electrical impulses in the brain, conducting during surgery, to validate whether a specific section is normal or diseased.
Another groundbreaking technology we offer involves anesthetizing part of a patient’s brain to simulate brain functions that would occur after surgery (Intracarotid Amobarbital Test). This test is most often used for patients whose seizures originate in the left side of the temporal lobe. In the past, many of these patients were not candidates for surgery because of the risk of impairing important brain functions such as language or memory. Today this testing enables our neurosurgical team to determine — prior to performing surgery — whether patients can undergo surgery without negative effects.
An innovative new treatment, vagal nerve stimulation, is also available for patients who do not respond well to drug treatments and are not good candidates for surgery. This treatment involves implanting a pacemaker-like device in the chest and establishing an electrical connection to the patient’s vagal nerve. This device periodically sends an electric charge through the nerve to the brain to stop seizures. Patients can also control these electric impulses and can prevent seizures by triggering the charge when they feel the onset of a seizure.
For more information about our Epilepsy Clinic, please call (727) 461-8635.
The Neurosciences Institute
Ptak Orthopaedic & Neuroscience Pavilion
430 Morton Plant Street
Clearwater, FL 33756
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