What Is an Electroencephalogram?

February 1, 2021
EEG Patient
Electroencephalogram (EEG) is an effective and state-of-the-art tool used to monitor the brain for symptoms of epilepsy and other neurological disorders. Information gathered by the scan is then examined by a neurologist and used in partnership with a patient’s doctor to make a diagnosis. The Hancock Regional Sleep Disorders Center now offers EEG services to patients experiencing seizures or other worrisome symptoms. 



When you hear the word “seizure,” you may imagine someone uncontrollably convulsing. However, when you have a seizure, it may not be obvious. You may not even know you’ve had one. The fact is a seizure is any state of high-firing brain cell activity. They have actually been called an “electrical storm” of the brain. The result can be a full spectrum of manifestations, from staring off into space to unconsciousness. When a doctor suspects a seizure disorder, an EEG is the best way to possibly capture it in real time to see just what part of the brain is affected. Epilepsy itself may be the cause, as it is defined as having recurring seizures, but there can be nonepileptic seizures as well.


What happens during an EEG scan?

During an EEG, electrodes are placed on the patient’s scalp as well as EKG (electrocardiogram) patches on the chest to monitor the heart rate. Most of the time, the patient will be asked to do something that may incite a seizure, such as inhale and exhale quickly for an extended period of time, look at strobe lights or drift off to sleep. By seeing the varying states of brain waves, the technician is able to look for any specific patterns that would indicate a seizure. 


Seizures can be debilitating and scary, especially when the cause is unknown. Understanding something as complex as epilepsy has been made easier by the use of tools like EEG. Patients of Hancock Health patients have access to tools such as EEG at the Hancock Regional Sleep Disorders Center. If you suspect that you or someone you love may be having seizures, contact a physician you trust who can refer you for an EEG scan. Alternatively, you can call the Sleep Center at (317) 468-4610.


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