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Pediatric Epilepsy
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Pediatric Epilepsy

Spectrum Health’s comprehensive epilepsy program has been designated a Level 4 epilepsy center by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC). Spectrum Health is the only epilepsy center in West Michigan with a Level 4 designation and the only program that provides comprehensive care for both pediatric and adult epilepsy patients

What is Epilepsy?
Epilepsy is a chronic medical disorder of recurrent seizures. There are many types of epilepsy ranging from the benign to the catastrophic. Seizures can range from full body shaking to staring or lip smacking. Our pediatric epilepsy program provides comprehensive, expert care for children who suffer from seizures. We offer state-of-the-art treatment and evaluation by a multidisciplinary team, consisting of pediatric neurologists, nurses, social workers, dieticians and a child life specialist.

Talk to your child's doctor if he or she has seizures, staring spells, confusion spells, shaking spells, or unexplained deterioration in behavior or school performance. Your child's doctor can refer you to Helen DeVos Children's Hospital Pediatric Neurology, who will take a patient medical history and examine your child, looking for findings that suggest problems with the brain or with the rest of the neurological system.

Diagnosing Epilepsy
Children referred to our pediatric epilepsy program will receive expert neurological evaluations to:

  • Confirm the diagnosis
  • Classify the seizures
  • Identify the medical, psychological and social complications of the seizure disorder

To classify the type of seizure the child is having and to answer other clinical questions, children undergo an EEG. Additional testing may include CT scan, MRI or PET scan. Most tests are performed on an outpatient basis; some may require a hospital stay.

Together, we will work to find the best treatment plan for every child referred to our program.

Epilepsy Treatment
Each patient receives an individualized treatment plan. Not all children with a single seizure require treatment with medication. Children who do require treatment with an anti-epileptic drug after their first seizure(s) receive individualized attention, with the selection of the drug based upon the unique needs of each child.

Epilepsy Monitoring Unit
We offer the only local pediatric epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU) for the evaluation of uncontrolled seizures. Each of our private monitoring rooms is equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment for both inpatient and outpatient observation.

Our 6-bed epilepsy monitoring unit on Floor 10 of Helen DeVos Children's Hospital is dedicated to continuous monitoring of the EEG and behavioral activity (using video technology) of children suspected to have epilepsy.