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Lesson 19. Electroencephalogram


a.      An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a recording of brain wave activity.

(1) Electrodes are attached to specific areas of a patient's scalp.
(2) Electrical impulses are received and transmitted to a machine called an electroencephalograph, which magnifies the impulses and records them on moving strips of paper. (Much the same as an electrocardiogram.)

b.      Diagnostic uses for EEG.

(1) To determine the presence and type of epilepsy.
(2) Aid in diagnosis of intracranial lesions.
(3) To evaluate the brain's electrical activity in metabolic disease, head injury, meningitis, and encephalitis.
(4) To confirm brain death.

c.      Nursing implications.

(1) Review the patient's clinical record to determine the reason for the patient's scheduled electroencephalography and what the patient has been told about the procedure.
(2) Check the patient's medication history for drugs that may interfere with test results, and report positive findings to charge nurse.
(a) Anticonvulsants.
(b) Tranquilizers.
(c) Barbiturates.
(d) Other sedatives.
(3) Approach and identify the patient.
(4) Interview the patient to determine his/her knowledge of the purpose of the electroencephalogram procedure.
(5) As indicated, explain to the patient the specific purpose of the electroencephalogram.
(6) Explain to the patient events which will occur prior to the electroencephalogram.
(a) Food or fluids need not be restricted.
(b) Tell the patient when and where the test will be performed, and who will do it.
(c) Patient will be transported to electroencephalogram clinic.

(7) Explain to the patient events that will occur during the procedure.

(a) Patient will be asked to relax in a reclining chair or lie on a bed, and electrodes will be attached to the scalp.
(b) Assure the patient that the electrodes will not cause electrical shocks.
(c) If needle electrodes are used, the patient will feel pricking sensations when they are inserted.
(d) Before the recording procedure starts, the patient is instructed to relax with the eyes closed and remain still.

(8) Explain to the patient events which will occur after the electroencephalogram procedure.

(a) Patient will return to his/her room.
(b) Physician will report the results of the electroencephalogram to the patient when they are available.

David L. Heiserman, Editor

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Revised: June 06, 2015