Our adult epilepsy services are under the medical direction of John T. Nasr, M.D., a board-certified neurologist and clinical neurophysiologist who specializes in epilepsy. He is joined by a team of registered nurses who specialize in caring for patients with neurologic conditions. There is 24-hour coverage by board-certified neurologists.
Our monitoring team is led by a technologist who is registered by the American Board of Registration for Electroencephalography and Evoked Potential Technologists. The team consists of highly qualified and experienced technicians who work both in the adult and pediatric departments. These technicians perform such studies as long term monitoring in the adult intensive care unit, ECI (brain death study), sleep deprived, neonatal EEGs, portables and routine testing. All these studies help in diagnosing epilepsy, seizures and abnormal brain waves.
A Comfortable Atmosphere
Our services have been designed for the comfort of patients. Patients generally spend two to five days in a private room. An around-the-clock EEG test (electroencephalogram) and video camera technology provide Dr. Nasr with information to make a diagnosis. The EEG measures brain waves through electrodes placed on the scalp and can detect abnormal changes that signal seizures. The video camera provides constant views of the patient for Dr. Nasr and the nursing staff. Patients may also undergo blood testing and an imaging study of the brain (MRI, SPECT, or PET scan) while they are here.
Patients do not have to remain in bed. They may sit up in a chair, leave their rooms for a nearby walk on their floor, wear their own clothes and pajamas, and eat food brought from home. They are encouraged to bring books, craftwork, puzzles, laptop computers and any other items for their enjoyment.
Network Monitoring for Patients
Network monitoring equipment in The Valley Hospital allows the epilepsy team to evaluate and monitor acutely ill patients who are in intensive care units throughout the hospital.
Multiple Treatment Options
Physicians associated with the Adult Epilepsy Monitoring Program interpret the patient's epilepsy study and formulate a treatment plan. Patients may continue under the care of a physician associated with the program or be referred back to their own neurologist. Treatment options include:
- vagal nerve stimulation, which involves the use of a small device implanted in the chest and attached to the vagal nerve (in the lower neck) that acts like a pacemaker to regulate electrical impulses in the brain and decrease the frequency of seizures;
- a ketogenic diet that has been proven to help patients with severe epilepsy; and/or
- referral, when appropriate, for surgery to treat seizures that cannot be controlled any other way.
Valley is participating with several pharmaceutical companies in clinical research to evaluate the effectiveness of new medications.
Valley's Advanced Services
If epilepsy is ruled out and another medical condition is suspected, The Valley Hospital offers the complete range of services needed to diagnose and treat these other problems. Valley is one of only several hospitals in New Jersey to be designated a Primary Stroke Center by The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. The Valley Columbia Heart Center integrates the skills and expertise of cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons at Valley and its affiliate, the NewYork-Presbyterian Healthcare System's Columbia University Medical Center. At Valley's Daniel & Gloria Blumenthal Cancer Center patients receive diagnostic and treatment services for brain tumors, including the use of non-surgical stereotactic radiosurgery to destroy cancerous tumors.
John T. Nasr, M.D., Director, Adult Epilepsy Services
Dr. Nasr received his medical degree from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. He was chief resident during his neurology residency at the State University of New York-Stony Brook, New York. After graduation, he stayed on to complete a fellowship in neurophysiology. He has been on the medical staff of The Valley Hospital since 2000 and director of Adult Epilepsy Services since 2001. Dr. Nasr's professional memberships include the American Academy of Neurology, the American Epilepsy Society, and the American Clinical Neurophysiology Society.
For More Information
Patients are usually scheduled for an epilepsy study by their referring neurologist or Dr. Nasr. For more information, please call 201-447-8311.