Paediatric epilepsy remote monitoring

In February 2008, the Vodafone Portugal Foundation and the West Lisbon Hospital Group signed a co-operation agreement to set up a Paediatric Epilepsy Remote Monitoring system at S. Francisco Xavier Hospital and Egas Moniz Hospital to increase the number and potential success of surgical operations on children with epilepsy.

Epilepsy affects five in every thousand people, for many of whom medication is not an adequate solution. In these cases, surgery is sometimes necessary to remove the parts of the brain that are responsible for their seizures. In connection with that procedure, extremely rigorous examinations are made to detect those areas with precision. During these examinations it is often necessary to suspend drug treatment, wholly or partially, which can give rise to the occurrence of seizures. For this reason it is necessary for the child to be hospitalised in a paediatric environment with experience of monitoring epileptic seizures and it is necessary to analyse the traces rapidly to minimise the duration of the examination and the risk period.

With the introduction of this new Paediatric Epilepsy Remote Monitoring System, thanks to the use of mobile communications and the implementation of a specially developed software application, physicians can remotely view these examinations (V-EEG or video electroencephalogram) on a computer or PDA at any time, even outside the hospital environment. In other words, they can in effect make these observations on the move, from any part of the country or even abroad, and interact with the system via the specially developed software application. The speed of this new process of analysing traces and seizures by the EEG specialist facilitates early, better informed decision-making which optimises the duration and conditions of the diagnosis and, therefore, the child’s safety and comfort.

The computer platform makes it possible to select images of the EEG trace and the epileptic seizure and send them via the Internet to the neurophysiologist, who has been alerted in advance by SMS or a telephone call. These images are then studied on a PC or PDA, enabling diagnosis to be made with interruption of the examination or the continuation of monitoring until the situation has been completely defined. In addition to receiving the EEG trace at any time and in complete mobility, the system enables the physician to operate the received signal in order to optimise the observation.

Additionally, the system does not confine children to bed during the hospital stay thanks to the use of wireless communications. Up to now, these examinations have usually been performed and transmitted by a system of electrodes fixed to patients’ heads and linked by a system of fixed cables to transmit the EEG signal.

Partner: West Lisbon Hospital Group