At Mount Sinai South Nassau, a new $2M epilepsy monitoring unit


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Mount Sinai South Nassau has opened a $2 million epilepsy monitoring unit in the hospital’s expanded neurosciences program. The two-bed unit is designed to provide specialized diagnostic and monitoring care for people with epilepsy.

“As we developed the plan to expand our neurosciences program and assessed the needs of the community, we recognized a gap in care for people with epilepsy,” Dr. Adhi Sharma, president of Mount Sinai South Nassau, said in a news release about the unit.

“We made it a priority to open this unit and establish a dedicated program of care for epilepsy,” Sharma added. “This is part of our overall goal to bring advanced services to the South Shore.”

The launching of the new unit comes at a time when, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are an estimated 215,000 New Yorkers are living with active epilepsy –  more than 35,000 of them living on Long Island. Epilepsy is a disorder of the central nervous system that results in seizures. The fourth most common neurological disease, epilepsy affects about 3 million adults and 470,000 children in the United States. People with epilepsy can suffer from a loss of consciousness or awareness, states of confusion, anxiety and uncontrolled seizures.

At Mount Sinai South Nassau, the epilepsy monitoring unit comprises advanced video-electroencephalogram (EEG) diagnostic technology and digital video monitors.  An EEG is non-invasive and is performed with electrodes attached to the scalp to measure the electrical activity of the brain.

The unit is staffed by a multidisciplinary team of specialists with Dr. David Aharonoff and Dr. Calvin Yu, both of them epileptologists and co-directors of the unit. Additional team members include neuroradiologists, nurses, social workers and EEG technologists.

“Led by Drs. Aharonoff and Yu, the staff will take the time that’s needed to understand our patients and the situations that trigger epileptic seizures to develop treatment plans that are tailored to their needs and goals,” Dr. Alan Wong, chief medical officer of Mount Sinai South Nassau, said in the news release.

“This will be complemented by comprehensive education so that patients can maximize the benefits of the care and treatments that are provided,” Wong added.

Patients admitted to the unit may need to stay for up to five days to undergo EEGs and other tests to diagnose the cause, characteristics and location of their epileptic seizures. Patients’ antiseizure medication prescriptions may be adjusted by physicians prior to or upon admission to the unit to trigger a seizure during monitoring.

During their stay, patients receive continuous supervision. If a seizure occurs, the EEG and digital video monitors help physicians in identifying whether the episode is caused by epilepsy and locating its position in the brain. After further investigation and assessment of the testing, the team of specialists develop targeted, patient-centered treatment plans.

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