Electroencephalography

Electroencephalography is a topic covered in the Davis's Lab & Diagnostic Tests.

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Synonym/Acronym:
Electrical activity (for sleep disturbances), EEG.

Rationale
To assess the electrical activity in the brain toward assisting in diagnosis of brain death, injury, infection, and bleeding.

Patient Preparation
Instruct the patient to eat a meal before the study and to avoid stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine for 8 hr prior to the procedure. Under medical direction, the patient should avoid sedatives, anticonvulsants, anxiolytics, and alcohol for 24 to 48 hr before the test. Instruct the patient to clean the hair and to refrain from using hair sprays, creams, or solutions before the test. Instruct the patient to limit sleep to 5 hr for an adult and 7 hr for a child the night before the study. Young infants and children should not be allowed to nap before the study.

Normal Findings

  • Normal occurrences of alpha, beta, delta, and theta waves (rhythms varying depending on the patient's age).
  • Normal amplitude, frequency, and characteristics of brain waves.

Critical Findings and Potential Interventions

  • Abscess
  • Brain death
  • Head injury
  • Hemorrhage
  • Intracranial hemorrhage

Timely notification to the requesting health-care provider (HCP) of any critical findings and related symptoms is a role expectation of the professional nurse. A listing of these findings varies among facilities.

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