Patients receive expert, multidisciplinary care
Each year, about 200,000 people are diagnosed with epilepsy. Today, the condition affects more than three million Americans. Although epilepsy affects people of all ages, most are younger than 2 and older than 65 years of age.
This neurological condition causes the brain's nerve cells (neurons) to fire electrical charges abnormally. The only external symptoms are seizures, caused by uncontrolled, continuous abnormal electrical discharges. Epilepsy is not a fatal condition. The most common cause of death or injury to oneself or others is having an accident during a seizure (e.g., while driving).
The National Association of Epilepsy Centers designated The University of Kansas Hospital a Level 4 epilepsy center. Level 4 epilepsy centers have the professional expertise and facilities to provide the highest level of medical and surgical evaluation and treatment for patients with complex epilepsy.
Here patients receive screening, expert diagnosis and treatment for epilepsy from neurologic physicians and a multidisciplinary team with specialists in:
- General medicine
- Social work
- Speech therapy
Individualized treatment for epilepsy
The treatment plan is tailored to the individual patient. No treatment for epilepsy is 100 percent effective, and no treatment is without side effects. The goal is to balance the treatment and side effects, which may include depression, fatigue and weight gain or loss.
Most patients receive medication to prevent seizures. Other treatments include:
- Ketogenic diet
This strict, high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet makes the body burn fat instead of glucose. It's used most often for children with epilepsy.
- Vagus nerve stimulation
A device similar to a pacemaker sends short bursts of electrical pulses to the brain through the vagus nerve, a large nerve in the neck.
The type of surgery depends on the area of the brain affected.
Although epileptic seizures usually last only a few minutes, the condition affects all aspects of a patient's life. This includes choices about careers, pregnancy, physical activity and life plans. Our specialists can provide information about maintaining your health and choosing a suitable occupation.
Multidisciplinary epilepsy care team
Fellowship-trained neurophysiologists lead a multidisciplinary team that includes physician specialists, nurse practitioners and specialists that include:
- Clinical psychologists
- Clinical nurse specialists
- Social workers
Pregnancy and epilepsy
To ensure the best outcomes, women with epilepsy who are either pregnant or planning to become pregnant receive comprehensive care from our experienced team. Patients receive specialized care and education in our outpatient clinic before, during and after pregnancy. We provide multispecialty referral, including:
- High-risk obstetric care
- Advanced imaging
- Neurodiagnostic monitoring
The Comprehensive Epilepsy Center is open 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. It is located on the ground floor of The University of Kansas Hospital, Delp Pavilion, Suite G056.