We’re Celebrating the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit’s One-Year Anniversary

By Dr. Locatelli

This week, we celebrated the epilepsy monitoring unit’s (EMU) one-year anniversary, and we could not be more pleased with its success. We designed the unit and operate it in conjunction with Holy Cross Hospital.

Why has the EMU been so successful? South Florida has the highest population of people who experience seizures on an annual basis. According to the Epilepsy Foundation, between 100,000 and 120,000 people here experience seizures annually, which is double the national average.

These statistics, combined with the fact that Holy Cross houses the region’s most sophisticated technology for diagnosing seizures, led to an outstanding year. Patient volume in the EMU surpassed our initial expectations, and projections for the year were double what were originally anticipated.

What is an epilepsy monitoring unit? The EMU houses state-of-the-art digital equipment to monitor and assist with the diagnosis of complicated seizure cases while patients stay in comfortable private rooms in a medically supervised environment. It also includes a technician monitoring room and a mobile monitoring unit to triage complicated seizure cases in the intensive care unit and emergency room.

Why is an EMU important? Thorough screening is essential for diagnosis and treatment planning because seizures are only a symptom of epilepsy. In fact, forty to sixty percent of people with persistent seizures do not have epilepsy, which highlights the importance of proper screening and diagnosis. Additionally, seizures can present in subtle ways such as slight temporary memory loss, dropping things, or even changes in smell.

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