What is an ambulatory electroencephalogram (EEG)?

An ambulatory EEG is essentially the same as the basic EEG except that the duration is longer. Sometimes the basic in-office EEG does not provide the information we are looking for based on your symptoms. The ambulatory EEG allows you to wear the EEG at home and live normally for 2 to 5 days. You will have a tiny, portable device attached to the leads to carry with you. This gives the physician a great deal of information about the electrical activity of your brain because the recording time is so long. Just like the basic EEG, the ambulatory EEG is painless and causes no harm. We will set up the ambulatory EEG electrodes in our office and then you will go home with it, live normally, and then return to our office. We will then upload all of the information the EEG recorded and review it fully.

How to prepare for an ambulatory EEG

Preparation for the ambulatory EEG is similar to that of the basic EEG. Electrodes will be placed on your scalp with a water-soluble gel by our friendly technician. Before coming in for the ambulatory EEG, we politely ask that you do the following:

  1. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your test time.
  2. Wash your hair before coming in with shampoo and afterwards dry your hair but do not put any hair product in your hair. So no gels, oils, hair spray, etc. These will reduce the accuracy of the test.
  3. Take your regularly prescribed medications the night before and day of test as you normally would.
  4. Eat the regular dinner the night before and breakfast the day of the test as you normally would.
  5. Please wear button-up shirts or any shirt that can be taken off without having to be removed above your head. We want the electrodes to stay put so you can have an accurate test.

Electrode application

Our staff will give you a date and time to come to the office to have our technician place the electrodes. This may take between 30 to 45 minutes to complete. After the electrodes are placed, your head will be wrapped to keep the electrodes in place so they don’t move and you get an accurate test. You will be told on what day and what time to come back to the office to have the electrodes removed and return the computer. Don’t forget to bring your event calendar as well. 

Other Ambulatory EEG Items

  1. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your test time.
  2. Do not take a shower during the entire duration of the study. You can wash your body with a washcloth but the leads have to stay attached to your scalp in the wrap and please do not get any water on the small device the leads are attached to.
  3. Don’t move or play with the leads or the small device, it may reduce the accuracy of your test.
  4. Be careful with the device, it is portable, but it is fragile at the same time.
  5. No chewing gum because it will affect the test results.
  6. The device has an event button. Do not forget to press this button when you experience an event. The physician will look at your entire study in full and focus in on these events especially.
  7. Mark any events that you experience or feel in the event calendar. Include the date, time, and what exactly happened. We will review this thoroughly.