Dedicated video telemetry unit opens to help diagnose those with epilepsy and sleep disorders

Charlotte Waite in the new control room at the unit

A new video telemetry unit helping to diagnose patients with suspected epilepsy and sleep and movement disorders has opened at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Video telemetry is a specialist recording technique which involves simultaneously measuring brain electrical activity and video recordings of patient’s seizures to diagnose and investigate the nature of attacks that affect the brain.

The unit, which has been relocated to the N2 ward at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, provides enhanced facilities for patients including two side rooms, a three-bedded bay area and a new control room.

Up to ten patients will be investigated in this unit each week, which is the largest of its kind in the north of England.

The new control room allows for 24/7 monitoring of patients who typically spend three to five days in the unit while the side rooms give patients who are attending for sleep studies much needed privacy and a better environment in which investigations for sleep disorders can take place.

Specialists in the unit use a wide range of techniques to improve accuracy of diagnosis in epilepsy and sleep disorders. A few selective patients with epilepsy are evaluated for suitability of surgery in the units using electrodes. These are implanted with use of the ROSA surgical robot assistant. This technique helps the surgeons to pinpoint the precise location of the abnormality in the brain prior to surgery.

Charlotte Waite, Professional Services Manager for Clinical Neurophysiology, said: “We are delighted to have opened this new unit. As well as helping to diagnose the nature of epilepsy the additional side rooms provide privacy for patients with sleep disorders enabling faster diagnosis. Patients have already commented that the new side rooms are peaceful and relaxing and the addition of the new control room ensures that the highest safety standards are met.”

Carrie Upton, 31, from Lincoln has suffered with epilepsy since she was 14. She used the video telemetry unit two and a half years ago for investigations which showed the seizures were very deep in her brain. This time round she’s hoping that the tests will pinpoint the exact location of her seizures so she can have surgery. “I’m really impressed with the new unit. I had my own room last time, but there’s so much more space this time round, it’s more peaceful and much brighter and the staff feel a lot closer. I felt very safe in their care. It’s been brilliant.”


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