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Barnes-Jewish & Washington University
Epilepsy Center

First Seizure Clinic

A first seizure can be a frightening experience, raising the possibility of epilepsy, brain abnormalities, or a life disrupted by unpredictable seizures. We understand that patients will have many questions they want answered as quickly as possible. For that reason, the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center offers a First Seizure Clinic to people who have experienced a first-time seizure but have not previously been diagnosed with epilepsy.

There are two main focuses of the First Seizure Clinic:  

  1. to quickly and accurately evaluate the type of seizure and what may have caused it, in order to develop an appropriate treatment regimen
  2. to rule out epilepsy, thereby avoiding unnecessary anti-epileptic medications

Since epilepsy technically is defined as recurrent, unprovoked seizures, epilepsy cannot always be diagnosed after one seizure. In fact, up to 30 percent of people with seizures do not have epilepsy; therefore epilepsy medications are not necessary. Our neurologists will use the First Seizure Clinic appointment as a chance to uncover the root cause of the seizure, the likelihood of it happening again, and determine any other testing that may be needed.

What to Expect

During the appointment, patients can expect to complete a thorough medical history and neurological exam. A routine EEG typically is performed, and other testing may be involved as well.

For a referral to a Washington University neurologist or neurosurgeon at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, call .

Epilepsy Patient, Neurosurgeon

Clint McMurphy from Makanda, IL was diagnosed with grand mal seizures and epilepsy at the age of 3. His doctors had it under control with medication most of his life, but by the time Clint was in his upper 20s, the seizures became uncontrollable, often making him lose consciousness.

Neurosurgeon Eric Leuthardt, MD, performed a focal resection, removing the tissue from Clint’s left temporal lobe that was responsible for epileptic seizures.

Learn more about Clint or see more patient stories.

 

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