Yield of conventional and automated seizure detection methods in the epilepsy monitoring unit

Brad K. Kamitaki, Alma Yum, James Lee, Shelly Rishty, Kartik Sivaraaman, Abdolreza Esfahanizadeh, Ram Mani, Stephen Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: To investigate the performance of seizure detection methods and nursing staff response in our epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU). Methods: We retrospectively reviewed 38 EMU patient admissions over a 1-year period capturing 133 epileptic and non-epileptic seizures with associated video-EEG data. We recorded detailed seizure event characteristics for further analysis. Results: Rates of seizure detection, alarm usage, and time to nursing response varied by seizure type. Patients self-activated the push button (PB)alarm for 31.1% of all seizures, but only 8.9% of focal impaired awareness (FIAS)and focal to bilateral tonic-clonic seizures (FBTCS). In comparison, the Persyst automated seizure alarm reliably detected both electrographic seizures (76.2% of electrographic seizures)and FIAS/FBTCS (87.2% of FIAS/FBTCS), with a false positive alarm rate (FAR)of 0.14/hour, or every 7.3 h. 11.4% of all seizures went unrecognized by nursing staff, of which the majority (80.0%)were FIAS. The PB alarm was of higher yield for alerting nurses to focal aware seizures (FAS)and psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES)versus FIAS and FBTCS (p < 0.001). In contrast, nurses relied more on the automated Persyst software alarm to detect FIAS (p < 0.001). Time to nursing response was no different following audible alarm onset for the PB compared to the Persyst alarms (p = 0.14). Conclusion: Automated seizure detection software plays an important role in our EMU in seizure recognition, particularly for alerting nurses to FIAS. More rigorous studies are needed to determine the best utilization of various monitoring techniques and to promote high quality standards and patient safety in the EMU.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)290-295
Number of pages6
StatePublished - Jul 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


  • EMU
  • Nursing
  • Safety


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