Expert Epilepsy Care by a Multidisciplinary Pediatric Team  

With children, any medical issue or condition causes concern, but when your child has a seizure - it is especially frightening. Children deserve an environment that is totally focused on their care and their specific needs. With our young patients, we know any pediatric condition or childhood health issue can significantly impact growth and development. Our team of pediatric epilepsy specialists at Arkansas Children’s is only focused on the care for children so we know how to help any of their unique needs.

Our team of experts is skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the central and peripheral nervous system. Each child has unique growth patterns and progresses at an individualized pace, so seeing a pediatric specialist sooner - with the multidisciplinary clinical support that only a children’s hospital can provide – can make a real difference in your child’s future.

A Level 4 program that’s exploring new frontiers for your child. It might surprise you to know that most epilepsy is treatable. Especially at Arkansas Children’s, a designated Level 4 Epilepsy Center, where board-certified specialists deliver some of the most advanced care in the world. That means we’re giving children the greatest chance at a life that’s not defined by epilepsy. So, if your child has been diagnosed, count on nationally leading care close to home.

Specialized Care Can Improve a Child’s Quality of Life

Mild seizures can affect attention or the ability to process information. With more complex cases of epilepsy, a profound effect can be seen on growth and development milestones as the frequency or severity of seizures to continue or worsen. Specialized care provided by experts that focus on a specific medical disorder such as epilepsy can fundamentally change the short and long term quality of life for patients. By bringing your child to the right place earlier for evaluation and treatment plans, the effects of epilepsy on growth and development are addressed as soon as possible. With the help of medication therapy, surgical correction or other advanced care, in many cases, seizures can be controlled.

Epileptologists Provide Advanced Care for Epilepsy Patients

Our board-certified pediatric neurologists and neurosurgeons have advanced training in the care of epilepsy for children. Called epileptologists, our pediatric epilepsy specialists are neurologists that have extra specialized training in the medical, psychological, social and educational issues that can be involved with children with epilepsy. By focusing on this clinical specialty, their experience and expertise allow them to better determine an accurate diagnosis and the optimum treatment plan.

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As the only healthcare center in the state with subspecialty pediatric care in the neurosciences and an Epilepsy Program for children, our team provides care for any medical need.

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Meet the Team

Epileptologists Provide Advanced Care for Epilepsy Patients

Our board-certified pediatric neurologists and neurosurgeons have advanced training in the care of epilepsy for children. Called epileptologists, our pediatric epilepsy specialists are neurologists that have extra specialized training in the medical, psychological, social and educational issues that can be involved with children with epilepsy. By focusing on this clinical specialty, their experience and expertise allow them to better determine an accurate diagnosis and the optimum treatment plan.

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Refer a Patient

At Arkansas Children’s, we know that a child’s primary care physician has the best understanding of each child’s individual health history, including growth and development milestones. If your patient needs diagnosis or treatment for any disorders of the central and peripheral nervous system, including specialized epilepsy care, our team is here to help. With specially trained epileptologists and skilled neurosurgeons, if surgical intervention is the right treatment option, our team is here to assist in short-term or long-term care management.  

We accept patients through a physician referral. If you would like to learn more about our services for epilepsy care, please contact call our Arkansas Children's Appointment Center to make a referral at 501-364-4000.

Locations

Arkansas Children’s provides expert care for the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy and seizure disorders in children that are appropriate for each child at their individual phase of growth and development. Our pediatric epilepsy specialists, called epileptologists, provide care for infants, toddlers, children, adolescents, teenagers and young adults, including:

Expert Evaluation: Testing and monitoring will allow for an individualized treatment plan

Testing and Monitoring

  • Electroencephalogram (EEG) testing and monitoring
  • Inpatient epilepsy monitoring unit
  • Intracranial EEG monitoring
  • Intracranial brain mapping
  • 3T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET)
  • Neuropsychology Testing

Pediatric Specific Medications and Therapies

  • Anti-epileptic medications
  • Ketogenic and modified Atkins diets
  • Surgical Options
    • Intracranial electrode placement
    • Resective surgery
    • Temporal lobectomy
    • Corpus callosotomy
    • Hemispherectomy
    • Vagus Nerve Stimulation

Safe and Effective Medication Management

In many cases, medication management is all that will be needed for the long-term management of childhood epilepsy. Because we are focused only on the care of children, we take a very personalized care approach for seizure medication dosage for each child’s unique needs. Our team includes specially trained pediatric pharmacists to assure that all medications prescribed to children are safe, effective and properly dosed for each patient based on their appropriate age.

Nutritional Support for Treatment of Seizures

Nutritional support can be a critical component of epilepsy management. By basically limiting carbohydrates, research has shown that either a ketogenic diet which is high fat and used for babies through formula or when tube feeding is required, or a modified Atkins diet which restricts carbohydrates are successful to help limit seizure activity. This research has shown that both diets are equally advantageous or effective and we work with patients and families to determine which is easier to manage day to day for individual patient needs.

The ketogenic diet is essentially a diet high in fat and low in carbohydrates yet provides enough protein for growth. While most children with seizures are treated with medicine, in some cases the medicine doesn’t stop the seizures or produces an unwanted side effect. The ketogenic diet can be used to treat seizures, and research has indicated large levels of ketones can help reduce some childhood seizures such as myoclonic, absence and generalized tonic-clonic or grand mal seizures, as well as the type of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome.

Our specially trained clinical nutritionist and neurologist coordinate any dietary needs to help patients and families understand how to implement the carbohydrate restricted diets into your child’s daily living.

Surgical Options for Seizure Management

At Arkansas Children’s, our skilled board-certified and fellowship trained pediatric neurosurgeons are specifically trained for the surgical treatment of epilepsy in children. In many cases, surgical intervention can stop seizures completely. Our team carefully evaluates the cause of seizures and the frequency, severity and duration of seizures. With the identification of the area of the brain where the seizures start, the surgical removal of the seizure focus, called a temporal lobe resection, can be considered to remove the area that controls seizures.

Another surgical option, Vagus Nerve Stimulation, is a result of the surgical placement of the Vagus Nerve Stimulator, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1997. As another treatment option for seizures, the epilepsy specialists at Arkansas Children’s have surgically placed these small devices regularly since their approval. The stimulator is a device that is placed under the left side of the chest. It has soft, flexible wires, or leads, that travel under the skin and up the neck, wrapping around the vagus nerve in the neck. This nerve carries information to the brain, and the device emits a mild, brief current or stimulation to the vagus nerve within a regular interval. The recipient of the stimulator can carry a special magnet to trigger extra stimulation to stop or lessen a seizure.

Enhanced Patient Care

At Arkansas Children’s, our goal is an exceptional patient experience and enhanced patient care. We know caring for a child with any medical issue impacts the whole family so we provide expert care that is convenient for families. Our specially trained epileptologists, neurologists and neurosurgeons come to Arkansas Children’s regional locations so children can see our specialists closer to home. Also, we provide electroencephalogram (EEG) testing right in our clinics – often the same day as your appointment – so our team can closely monitor any seizure activity through the detection of any abnormalities of the brain’s activity.

Our goal is your goal – for the best quality of life for your child through enhanced epilepsy care. We are here to help understand what to tell your doctor. Because seizures don’t often happen in the doctor’s office, it is important to document the sequence of any seizure – before, during and after – how long it lasted and how long it took for your child to recover. Because our specialists are epilepsy experts, our team can answer your questions and we can talk through any concerns for epilepsy management.

Technology and Innovation

Our team of pediatric epilepsy specialists at Arkansas Children’s provide advanced care through state-of-the-art technology and innovative approaches for improved outcomes. As an academic medical center, our approach includes the continuous discovery of new and improved techniques, with access to clinical trials and research, to better control seizures for our young epilepsy patients. Through a system investment in the best technology, we are able to obtain the highest quality images through our Neurophysiological Lab test capabilities.

Non-Invasive Brain Mapping Technology for Epilepsy 

Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) is home to a non-invasive brain mapping technology called magnetoencephalography (MEG). The only one of its kind in the state, the MEG system allows physicians to help identify patients who may benefit from epilepsy surgery. It’s also used to evaluate brain activity and mapping before brain tumor surgery.

MEG detects magnetic fields produced in the brain to help our epileptologists (doctors who treat epilepsy) to identify areas of the brain that seizures are generating. The mapping technology is more precise than standard electroencephalography (EEG); however, it’s complementary to other tests and usually used in combination with MRI scans and EEG tests.

The MEG test is non-invasive and safe for both children and adults. The test can take up to an hour, but the entire visit could last up to four hours.

MEG also has research applications in patients with neurological disorders such as autism, Alzheimer’s, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.

State-of-the-Art Neurophysiological Lab Testing

The Neurophysiology Laboratory provides state-of-the-art neurophysiological testing for our patients of all ages – while they are in the hospital or at a clinic visit. We offer a wide range of advanced tests, including:

  • Digital Electroencephalogram (EEG): Detects abnormalities related to electrical activity of the brain
  • Intraoperative Intracranial Prolonged EEG Monitoring: Carefully monitors brain activity during surgery for definitive seizure onset with direct surgical management
  • Intraoperative Functional Brain Mapping: Localize and identify areas of functional capability, including speech, movement and visual function to successfully preserve function in the removal of the epilepsy focus
  • Outpatient Prolonged Video EEG: Records both physical or behavioral activity with brain activity to determine correlations 
  • Routine Digital EEG: Our advanced portable EEG equipment, within our 14-bed Epilepsy Monitoring Unit, allows for continuous monitoring over several days to identity, classify and localize seizures

In addition, our extensive long-term video EEG is used for both medical and surgical treatment of epilepsy, but also careful monitoring in critical care areas for Neonatal, Pediatric, and Cardiovascular Intensive Care.

Advanced Neuroimaging

Advanced neuroimaging allows our epilepsy specialists to see images of the brain for diagnostic and monitoring benefits for our young patients. By using the following noninvasive imaging tests, our specialists can see the structure and functionality of the brain:

  • Three Tesla Magnetic Resonance Imaging (3T MRI): Providing a more accurate analysis for a whole-brain epilepsy evaluation, this more advanced 3T MRI detects structural brain abnormalities
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI)
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET)

Coordination of Care for Epilepsy Management

For short-term testing, diagnosis or long-term epilepsy management, our specialized team cares for children of all ages – infants, toddlers, children, adolescents, teens and young adults up to the age of 21. Your primary care provider is an epileptologist – specially trained with advanced expertise just for children with epilepsy. This team of experts provides the continuity of care needed to improve the quality of life for your child. Our specialty nurses coordinate care every step of the way – and also provide a central contact so family members have someone to call with questions or to find out more information for day-to-day concerns.

We address all areas beyond seizure management such as education and overall well-being. Our team addresses specific areas that affect overall care, including school performance and behavior concerns.

We provide comprehensive education for the entire family – knowing that when the family engages in the process – in the daily care plan - outcomes are better. Arkansas Children’s provides patient resources to help families through any healthcare need. We hope you will get involved – maybe as a family advisor - to help us continuously improve our patient and family experiences.

Resources for Daily Living

With epilepsy specific expertise, our team of epilepsy specialists has the experience of knowing what has worked for others so we can provide resources for improved daily living. We provide helpful resources such as the ketogenic diet for the treatment of seizures and offer the expertise of a pediatric dietician to help you understand how to get started. 

Epilepsy Treatments – How Arkansas Children’s helped stop Rikesh’s seizures 

What to expect during EEG testing/monitoring

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