The diagnosis of epilepsy and epileptic crisis are clinical. With the help of other complementary tests, we can reach an accurate diagnosis about the type of crisis and we will be able to ascertain the epileptic syndrome and to choose the best treatment.
Facing an unprovoked epileptic crisis, the patient shall contact the neurologist. He /she will go over the medical history of the patient and will look up any epilepsy case, perinatal damages, fever convulsions or any other neurological disease in the family history.
It will be crucial to obtain a detailed description of the type of epileptic crisis. For that matter, it will be necessary for the patient to come with anyone who might have witnessed the crisis in order to obtain as much information as possible.
After the visit, the diagnosis shall be completed with diagnostic tests so as to help finding the origin of the crisis. Among the most common diagnostic tests, the main ones are the encephalogram (EEG) and the magnetic resonance imaging of the brain (MRI) to help us determine the type of epilepsy and epileptic syndrome ( set of signs and specific symptoms that will help us obtain information about the future of epilepsy and the best treatments to follow).
With the encephalogram we shall obtain graphical recording of brain electrical activity, together with the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) which will be useful to see the brain structure and to detect the presence of any tumor, cyst or brain malformations.
In cases of doubt in the diagnosis of epilepsy, the EEG sensibility shall be increased by conducting a sleep EEG and by recording an EEG video, so that we can narrow down the study of these crises recorded. This last test requires hospital admission.
Procedure that uses X-Ray to create images of the head, including the cranium and the brain. Instead of obtaining a conventional X-Ray photograph, the CAT obtains multiple images by rotating around the head.
The test requires the use of powerful magnets and radio waves to create images from the brain and from the nerve tissue. Unlike the CAT, MR does not use radiation.
This test is used to measure the electric activity of the brain. It requires a machine that gives off electric signals reaching the brain cells through flat metal discs (electrodes) attached on the head. Most of EEC takes between 30 minutes to an hour long.
4) Electroencephalogram video (EEG)
This test serves to record the brain electric activity and have a simultaneous video recording which allows us to visualize what is happening to the patient. It is a type of electroencephalogram (EEG) so to speak, but more sophisticated.
The duration of the study is higher than the EEG’s, it takes 12 to 14 hours long or even days.
In general, there is not any known prevention for epilepsy; on the other hand, there are some guidelines to follow in order to prevent the emergence of this disease: