Epilepsy Destination Draws Patients from Five States
August 22, 2019
Patients with complex epilepsy can go from one specialist to another, trying to find answers.
Those traveling to the Destination Clinic at the CHI Health Epilepsy Center find they’ve arrived.
“We have been designated a Level 4 Epilepsy Center by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers,” said Director Sanjay Singh, MBBS, FAAN. “This is the highest possible designation.” That means the care is the best they can receive, with an approach that is truly unique.
Here, patients see a neurologist specializing in epilepsy (epileptologist) in the morning and immediately have all needed diagnostic tests. They can also receive care from a physical therapist or other specialists, and can consult with a neurosurgeon if necessary. Then they review all their results with their epileptologist.
It all happens in one place. At the end of the day, the patient and family walk out with a comprehensive care plan. Treatment ranges from medical management (60-70% of patients) to surgical interventions (30-35% of patients). The Epilepsy Center attracts patients from Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Kansas and Montana.
“We see our role as moving patient from disease and disorder to a healthier life,” Dr. Singh said. Responsiveness is core to the team’s philosophy.
“We keep a number of urgent clinic slots open so if someone needs to be seen we will get them in,” Dr. Singh said. The Institute also offers ICU EEG monitoring for transfer patients. “This is intense monitoring with a physician on the case every hour,” Dr. Singh said.
Tele-EEG monitoring allows the program to extend its expertise to distant communities. “With this technology, they can get the highest level of care,” Dr. Singh said.
Epilepsy Center Protocol
Phase 1 (Diagnosis and treatment)
- Video-EEG monitoring
- MRI with a seizure protocol
- PET scan
- SPECT scan
- Neuropsychological testing
Phase 2 (For surgical candidates)
- WADA Test -Shutting down half the brain to test memory and language
Phase 3 (Localizing language/memory functions)
- Intracranial Video
- EEG Monitoring
Phase 4 (Surgery)
- Epilepsy surgery
- Vagal nerve stimulation
Surgery Solves 30-Plus Years of Seizures
Nate Beber endured three, five, sometimes even 10 petite mal seizures each month for more than 30 years. One caused a car crash. Another ended with a severely broken leg.
“A lot can happen in a minute,” said Kathy Beber, his wife of 35 years. “If he was standing I would have to hang onto him.”
It all started with a mosquito bite in 1971 which caused viral encephalitis. Nate was 16 and lucky to recover, despite memory loss and seizures. Medication has helped, but surgery was always in the back of his mind.
“It’s a scary decision. There’s so much to lose. I didn’t want to end up a vegetable,” he said. “Now the technology has advanced so much, it’s like walking on the moon.”
In 2016, Nate underwent WADA testing and a lobectomy. The five-hour surgery ended with the excision of a golf ball-sized section of brain.
The seizures have ceased and Nate is able to drive and continue working at his fraud detection job at First Data.