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Electroencephalography (EEG)

EEG is the diagnostic field examining the electrical activity of the brain. By applying disc electrodes to the surface of the scalp with conductive gel this will record activity which is commonly referred to as brain waves.
There is no sensation from the procedure other than the application of electrodes which is painless.

It is generally performed when lying on a bed. However, the test is flexible for those confined to chairs or for smaller children when at times can be comforted in their parent’s arms.

Routine tasks required of the patient will include simple opening and closing of the eyes, a few minutes of faster breathing to assess relationship to heart and brain in a physical demanding situation, a quiet restful period for 10 to 20 minutes, and often a period of strobe light flashes to assist in diagnosis of certain epilepsies.

A doctor must order this test and a requisition is requested from the doctor.

Reasons for ordering an EEG include assistance in diagnosing disorders of the brain and central nervous systems. The most common disorders tested for are epilepsy, which has many forms including brain tumours, migraine headaches, strokes, in hospital patients for meningitis, encephalitis, and coma.

A routine EEG test will take 45 minutes to an hour. On some occasions, the doctor will order a sleep-deprived EEG which requires the patient to undergo a period of no sleeping for usually 24 hours for adults and depending on age, less with children.

Upsetting the sleep routine is a very good means of aggravating an underlying problem to surface as the patient drifts in and out of the different stages of sleep. This type of EEG is commonly used to help diagnose any ongoing epileptic process.

Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your appointment time with your health card to register:
  • Clean dry hair is requested: please don’t use hair products as they interfere in the recording;
  • Take your medications and meals as usual before the test;
  • The technologist will ask for some related history as to the reason for your test;
  • A list of medications you are currently taking would be helpful; and
  • Interpreters are welcome if there are language concerns.

Test results
The EEG will be interpreted by a neurologist and forwarded to your doctor.
Currently, our program offers inpatient and outpatient services for adults, adolescents, children, and newborns for routine EEG.
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