Overview of the Epilepsy Program 

Epilepsy is characterized by intermittent, unprovoked seizures that can occur at any age. The condition affects one to two percent of the general population, and it is estimated that one in 26 people will develop epilepsy during their lifetime. The Epilepsy Program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Neurological Institute offers comprehensive evaluation and management of patients suffering from this chronic condition. 

The Epilepsy Program is a multidisciplinary collaboration of epilepsy physicians, neurosurgeons, neuroradiologists, psychiatrists, and allied health professionals who provide medical and surgical treatment for appropriate candidates. It also offers evaluation at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s 24/7 Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, whose technological design and staff expertise are one-of-a-kind in the world.

The program is also tightly integrated with the Epilepsy Center at the Cleveland Clinic main campus in the United States. This allows for thorough, collaborative evaluation and discussion of patient cases between experts on both hospital campuses. The two campuses also work together to provide safe, round-the-clock monitoring in the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit. Working together makes it possible to provide the very highest standard of Patients First care.

What we treat

Epileptic seizures result from abnormal electrical discharges in the brain. These may be caused by a range of conditions affecting the brain, such as brain malformation, stroke, scarring, or an upset in the brain’s metabolic function (cellular processes).
Once diagnosed with epilepsy, Epilepsy Program patients are evaluated for the underlying cause, which is important for determining treatment options.

Diagnosis & treatment of epilepsy

Diagnosis of epilepsy 
Evaluation of a patient with epilepsy at the Epilepsy Program starts with a thorough consultation performed by a neurologist with expertise in epilepsy. This is followed by careful selection of tests which may include:
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG): Performed in the outpatient laboratory, this test measures the electrical discharges in the brain.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): This test uses magnets to create images of the brain in order to determine whether there is damage to the brain tissue that may be responsible for epilepsy.
  • Blood tests and other laboratory tests: These tests are used to check for genetic and metabolic (cellular process) abnormalities that may be responsible for epilepsy.
Treatment of epilepsy
Expert physicians at the Epilepsy Program tailor treatment options to the patient once an accurate diagnosis has been established. Treatment options may include:

  • Dietary recommendations
  • Medication
  • Brain surgery
  • Neurostimulation, including vagus nerve stimulation (using a device that delivers electrical impulses to the brain to reduce the frequency of seizures)

Recommendations for anti-seizure medications are based on a review of all test results. About two thirds of epilepsy patients can have their seizures controlled through a careful selection of the right medication for their condition. However, not all patients respond to medication, and up to one third of patients continue to have seizures. These patients, referred to as medically refractory epilepsy patients, require additional, specialized testing, and may be candidates for brain surgery or neurostimulation therapy.

Patients with seizures that are difficult to control are admitted to the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, which is equipped for simultaneous EEG recording of video and abnormal brain electricity during seizures. Epilepsy Monitoring Unit evaluation can identify whether a patient may be a good candidate for brain surgery. 

A virtual seizure board meeting is held between experts at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and Cleveland Clinic main campus in the United States to discuss the findings from video-EEG monitoring, neuro-imaging, and other tests in order to make recommendations for brain surgery. If the patient and family members agree with recommendations, surgical treatment is offered by expert neurosurgeons at the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi Epilepsy Program.

Epilepsy Program caregivers 

The Epilepsy Program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Neurological Institute is a highly trained team of board-certified physicians and allied health professionals, collaborating with Epilepsy Center consultants at Cleveland Clinic main campus in the United States to evaluate epilepsy patients. Program neurologists undergo training in neurologic diseases, followed by one to two years of additional training in epilepsy and neurophysiology. Program neurosurgeons are experienced in performing epilepsy surgery, including resections and implantation of stimulation devices.

Caregivers involved in patient care for this program are:

  • Neurologists​
  • Neurosurgeons
  • Neuroradiologists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Neurodiagnostic technologists
  • Nurses


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