Home Medication and medical testsVarious medical tests Electroencephalogram: what it is and what it is for

Electroencephalogram: what it is and what it is for

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Some diagnoses cannot be carried out solely with the physical examination or consultation of the symptoms suffered by the patient, but require a deeper exploration of the affected area to examine tissues, masses, organs, bones and even blood vessels. The EEG is a diagnostic test used to examine brain activity .

The encephalogram or brain wave examination is a non-invasive and painless test that is usually performed in a medical specialist’s office and is widely used to diagnose conditions such as epilepsy . Learn in this FastlyHealarticle what an electroencephalogram is and what it is for .

What is an EEG

The brain contains cells that communicate with each other by emitting very small electrical signals known as impulses. The electroencephalogram or EEG is an advanced diagnostic test that is capable of measuring the electrical activity of brain cells to detect irregularities or rule out diseases.

The results of the electroencephalogram are very complex to understand by a person who is not a medical specialist, since the machine produces a balance of brain activity for a certain time represented by peaks like those seen in an electrocardiogram . Therefore, interpreting whether an EEG is normal or abnormal is the sole task of the physician.

What is an EEG?

The EEG is a non-invasive and painless test . On the day of the test, you should go to your doctor’s office and you will be asked to lie down on a stretcher or recliner chair. To carry out the exam, it is necessary to place metallic discs, better known as electrodes, all over the scalp. These discs are connected to a cable that in turn is connected to a kind of recorder, which has the ability to convert perceived electrical signals into wave graphics that can be viewed on a computer and printed.

As in most of these tests, it is important that during the EEG you remain as still as possible, since movement can influence the development of the test and distort the results. Depending on what the specialist wishes to examine, the person may be asked to perform certain movements or look at light bulbs during the examination, it may also be required that the patient be asleep at the time of performing this test.

There is a modality of this test known as an ambulatory electroencephalogram , which lasts three days and consists in that, in addition to the electrodes, the person carries a recorder with them for 72 hours that monitors the electrical activity of brain cells at all times.

What is the EEG for

Basically, its main function is to help the medical specialist to diagnose or rule out diseases related to brain electrical activity. The EEG is done to:

  • Rule out epilepsy.
  • Determine the cause of seizures.
  • Diagnose diseases like Alzheimer’s.
  • Analyze the cause of confusional states, periods of memory loss, and unwarranted fainting.
  • Look for head trauma.
  • Identify infections, masses, tumors.
  • Assess sleeping problems.
  • Monitor electrical activity during brain surgery.
  • Measure the operation.
  • Declare brain dead.

Risks of performing an EEG

The electroencephalogram is a very safe test that does not represent any risk except in those who suffer from seizures, since the bright lights and rapid breathing necessary to perform this test can cause seizures in patients who have already experienced these reactions. In any case, anyone trained to perform an EEG should also be trained to deal with any emergencies that occur during the test.

Abnormal EEG results

The abnormal results in an electroencephalogram may be due to:

  • Brain swelling
  • Presence of brain masses or tumors.
  • Epilepsy.
  • Sleep disorders such as narcolepsy .
  • Migraines .
  • Alcoholism or drug addiction.
  • Dead tissue due to cerebral infarction.
  • Attention problems.

In each case, the specialist will indicate what measures should be taken, as well as the possibility of performing some other test to confirm the presence of any condition. Depending on the result, it will be necessary to start the indicated treatment to deal with the detected problem.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Electroencephalogram: what it is and what it is for , we recommend that you enter our category of Medication and medical tests .

You may also like

Leave a Comment