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Winthrop Celebrates Opening of Advanced Epilepsy Monitoring Unit

Winthrop-University Hospital, a leader in the delivery of top quality neurosciences care, recently celebrated the opening of a dedicated, state-of-the-science Epilepsy Monitoring Unit designed to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients who experience hard-to-treat epileptic seizures.

"Winthrop is pleased to offer this major expansion of its program for patients with seizure disorders and epilepsy," said Malcolm Gottesman, MD, Chief of Neurology and Director of Winthrop's Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Program. "This highly specialized Unit is designed to offer prolonged 24/7 monitoring in order to identify the specific region of the brain in which each patient's seizures originate and provide appropriate treatment to reduce or eliminate the episodes."

Working together with Shicong Ye, MD, EEG Lab Director at Winthrop, Alan Ettinger, MD, Director of the Epilepsy Monitoring Program and a nationally-renowned epilepsy specialist, has spearheaded the development of the new Epilepsy Monitoring Program at Winthrop.

Winthrop's Epilepsy Monitoring Unit is the latest addition to a comprehensive range of diagnostic services for seizure disorder patients. Services also include positron emission tomography (PET), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and neuroimaging studies administered by a multidisciplinary team of specialists at Winthrop.

Among the features of the new Epilepsy Monitoring Unit is extended video electro-encephalography (EEG) monitoring, a highly effective diagnostic tool used to pinpoint the region of the brain where the patient's seizures originate in order to establish an accurate diagnosis of epilepsy or other form of seizure disorder, which may require different treatments.

Present at the ribbon cutting ceremony in celebration of the opening of Winthrop's dedicated Epilepsy Monitoring Unit were (l.-r.) Donna Caccavale, RN, Director of Nursing, Critical Care; John F. Collins, President & CEO of Winthrop; Steven Fishbane, MD, Chief Medical Officer (back); Malcolm Gottesman, MD, Chief of Neurology and Director of Winthrop's Multiple Sclerosis Treatment Program; neurosurgeon Brian J. Snyder, MD; Alan Ettinger, MD, Director of Winthrop's Epilepsy Monitoring Program; Garry J. Schwall, MBA, RPA, Chief Operating Officer; Shicong Ye, MD, EEG Lab Director; Maureen Gaffney, Senior Vice President, Patient Care Services and Chief Medical Information Officer; Rafaelina Martinez, Administrative Director for Winthrop's Department of Surgery; Solomon A. Torres, LNHA, FACHE, Vice President, Administration; and Janice McGuinness, RN, Nurse Manager, Winthrop's Neurological Stepdown Unit.

During video EEG monitoring, EEG electrodes are placed on the patient's scalp which are then connected to a small box that is worn on the patient's hip. The EEG activity is continuously recorded in conjunction with around-the-clock video surveillance. If a seizure does not naturally occur during the monitoring process, antiepileptic medication may be reduced or stopped in order to safely induce a seizure under the close supervision of Winthrop's trained medical staff.

"Following a comprehensive assessment, which considers the severity of the patient's seizure disorder and the affected area of the brain, we present recommendations for treatment which may represent medication alteration or surgical therapy," said Dr. Ettinger.

With a variety of treatment options available – from conservative medical management to advanced surgical approaches – Winthrop's multidisciplinary neurosciences team is well equipped to provide patients with the appropriate course of treatment, tailored exclusively to meet each patient's unique needs. For those patients whose seizures do not respond to medication management, Winthrop neurosurgeons are adept at the implantation of the vagal nerve stimulator – a pacemaker-like device that often prevents and controls seizure activity – and deep brain stimulation, which delivers electrical stimulation to targeted regions deep within the brain that control movement-related communication.

Winthrop's Institute for Neuro - sciences treats all neurological conditions including stroke, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, multiple sclerosis, movement disorders and various other conditions. Patients receive comprehensive care from an interdisciplinary team which includes neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuroradiologists, vascular surgeons, orthopaedic surgeons and other specialists from related fields as needed. Specialized nursing care, physical and occupational therapy, social work and other supportive services are also key components of the Institute.

For more information about neurosciences care, call 1-866-WINTHROP.
Vol. 21, No. 1
Winter/Spring 2011

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