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MUSC sets high standards with Epilepsy Center's level 4 status

by Helen Adams | MUSC News Center | July 16, 2014

Epilepsy Center
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Brandi Diasio, who works in the Clinical Neurophysiology Department, is getting connected to the high-density electroencephalography. 

Janice Petrilla spent years relying on others to drive her to the bus stop so she could get to work at MUSC. South Carolina doesn’t allow anyone who has had a seizure to drive for six months, and Petrilla’s epilepsy caused her to have seizures routinely. That changed after an operation stopped her seizures and allowed her to get behind the wheel again.

“It is like being let out of a cage,” said Petrilla, who works at the front desk of MUSC’s Department of Nuclear Medicine and is a former patient of MUSC’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center.    

“Those doctors are excellent,” she said. “They dealt with me personally, and I didn’t feel like they were talking at me. They were talking with me.”

That excellence is being recognized at a national level. The National Association of Epilepsy Centers has certified MUSC’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center as a level-four facility, the highest level possible, for the sixth year in a row. The level speaks to the extensive treatment and monitoring that the center can offer.

Sarah Pack
Dr. Jonathan Edwards, right, discusses a patient with Dr. Maria Spampinato, from left, Adam Kornegay and Dr. Marques Bradshaw. 

Many factors set the MUSC Comprehensive Epilepsy Center apart, according to its director, Jonathan Edwards, M.D.  Edwards also serves as professor and vice chair of clinical services in the Division of Neurology at MUSC and medical director of the Clinical Neurophysiology Laboratories.

For example, the Epilepsy Center offers high-definition electroencephalography, which involves placing a non-invasive cap of more than 200 electrodes on a patient’s head to measure any electrical abnormalities in the brain.  Only a handful of other epilepsy centers in the country have high-density electroencephalography available for use on patients.  

MUSC’s Epilepsy Center has also been instrumental in the development of a promising treatment for epileptic patients. The device, called NeuroPace, uses responsive brain stimulation to recognize the electrical signal that comes at the start of a seizure and neutralizes it before it can actually lead to a seizure.  

Another factor in the Epilepsy Center’s level-four status involves training and interprofessional collaboration. Not only does the center offer “epileptologists,” or doctors who specialize in the treatment of epilepsy, but it also has social workers and psychologists to help patients deal with the professional, family and emotional challenges that epilepsy can lead to.

“We’re kind of a destination site for epilepsy for a broad range of patients from other states,” Edwards said.  

 Only a handful of other epilepsy centers in the country have high-density electroencephalography available for use on patients.

The Comprehensive Epilepsy Center also has the support of MUSC’s Neurophysiology Center, which is the most accredited neurophysiology center in the United States. The MUSC Neurophysiology Center has accreditations in five key areas involving diagnosing, measuring and monitoring nervous system and muscular problems.

The accreditations show that the work and credentials of everyone in the center have been scrutinized by the American Board of Registration of Electroencephalographic and Evoked Potential Technologists (ABRET) and found to be of high quality. However, the accreditations are not required. Edwards said that centers can cut corners and not meet those standards and still see patients.

“We sought accreditation in all our labs because I think you have to set high standards. We set a standard that we want all of our neurophysiology labs to be accredited every way you can possibly be accredited.  If you meet those standards, I think you’re doing really well,” Edwards said.




  Related Video

Patient recounts how NeuroPace has changed his life

Related Stories >>

Epilepsy device could give severe sufferers 'a future' (CBS New York)

Device tested at MUSC to change epilepsy treatment worldwide (ABC News)

Resources >>

South Carolina Advocates for Epilepsy

MUSC patient handout: Comprehensive Epilepsy Program

American Board of Registration of Electroencephalographic and Evoked Potential Technologists

National Association of Epilepsy Centers


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