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Paediatric routine EEG

What is an EEG (Electroencephalogram)?

EEG is the abbreviation of Electroencephalogram; this is the recording of the electrical activity produced by the brain.  It can help the doctor to make a diagnosis.

How is it performed?

The physiologist will measure your child's head.  The head will be rubbed with a special gel then 23 discs are attached to the scalp using sticky paste.  Your child's heartbeat will also be recorded by attaching two leads to the shoulders.  The time it takes to attachĂ© the leads varies but it usually takes 15-20 minutes.  The recording takes 20-30 minutes and your child will be asked to sit or lay as still as possible.  The test is completely painless.  If your child has a favourite toy/book/snack please feel free to bring them along as these may help to keep him/her distracted whilst the leads are being applied.  We have a dvd player and a selection of dvd's, or you can bring one of your own if you wish. 

Some of the following may be required during the test:

1. Deep breathing: this may produce changes in the brain wave activity that could help with a diagnosis.  Your child will be asked to deep breath for up to 3 minutes.  This may be achieved by them blowing a windmill.  this procedure sometimes causes a light headed feeling or tingling in the fingers or toes.  This is expected and will resolve as breathing returns to normal.

2. Photic stimulation:  this is an important part of the test for patients who may have blackouts or seizures due to flashing lights.  Your child will be asked to look at a bright flashing light with their eyes open and closed.  This may rarely cause a seizure in patients who are sensitive to flashing lights, this affects approximately 1/4000 patients.  The physiologist will be looking at the EEG during the test and will stop the flashing light if your child shows signs of being sensitive.

3.  Video:  It is helpful to make a video recording of your child during the test.  Please inform the physiologist if you do not wish the video recording to be done.

After the test is finished the discs are removed and your child will be free to go home/school.

We will need to obtain verbal consent for these procedures and this can only be given by a person with parental responsibility.  If you are unsure whether the person bringing your child can give consent please check with the doctor who has referred your child or call the department on 01422 222976 for advice.


How to prepare for the test:

Please ensure your child’s hair is clean and free from hairspray and oil. 

If your child is taking medication please continue to give it to them and bring a list of the medication with you.

Your child can continue to eat meals normally.


How long will I have to wait?

You have been given a specific appointment time and patients are usually seen on time.  It is important that you arrive on time.  Please allow plenty of time for parking.


When will I get the results?

The results are sent to the doctor that referred your child for the test and are usually available within seven days.

If you have any concerns or questions please speak to a Clinical Physiologist on the number below.


Neurophysiology Department   01422 222976