An Ambulatory Electroencephalography (ambulatory EEG) is an extended electroencephalogram (EEG). Brain waves and the electrical activity of your brain are recorded continuously for up to 48-hours while you continue to go about your daily routine. Changes in brain waves and electrical activity can occur at different times and under different circumstances. Because a routine EEG is a test conducted over a limited amount of time certain data and brain activity may not be recorded. Ambulatory EEGs increase the chance of recording an event or abnormal changes in brain wave patterns.

An ambulatory EEG is a continuous EEG recording that is completed over 48-hours while you continue to go about your daily routines. Like a routine EEG, 20 leads are placed on various areas of your scalp using a special paste. The wires connected to the electrodes will be attached to a small recording device which you will wear in a pack that goes around your waist. Once the electrodes are placed on your scalp the technician will wrap your head and the wires with gauze to prevent any shifting that may occur as you continue to go about your routine for 48 hours.

The type of shirt you wear to your appointment and throughout the 48 hours is significant to your comfort and ease of movement once you are hooked up to the equipment. A button-down shirt is highly recommended for the day you are to have the equipment placed and removed.

It is important to note that the electrodes and wires cannot get wet. During the 48-hour time you will have the equipment attached you will not be able to shower or bathe.

Once you have the equipment fully attached and secured the technician will go over the instructions with you and answer any questions you may have. Since the test is conducted over an extended time you will need to change the batteries in the recording pack. The batteries will be provided to you and the technician will show you how to put them in the pack properly as well as advise you on when to change the batteries. You will also be provided with the instructions if you forget how to work the equipment.

You will also be provided with a 3-page log: day 1 activity log, day 2 activity log, and an event log. These logs allow you to keep track of any events or symptoms that may occur during the extended EEG. Use these logs to report any feelings or symptoms that you feel may be helpful during the interpretation of your recording.

All paperwork and equipment (except the batteries from day 1) should be brought to your removal appointment. After removing the gauze from your head, the technician will begin removing the leads with warm water. Since the test is conducted over a longer period, more paste was used during placement of the leads. The technician will try to remove as much of the paste as possible, but you will often need to go home and wash your hair again with warm water and conditioner. You can bring a hat or wrap to put on after the removal is completed. As with a routine EEG, skin irritation or redness can occur at the locations of electrode placement but will wear off in a few hours.

The data recorded during your test is then downloaded and sent to a provider with your 3-page activity log for interpretation. Ambulatory EEG results are available within one week of your test and reviewed with you at your next follow up visit. If there is an abnormality seen on your test you will receive a call from our office.

How to prepare for an Ambulatory EEG placement

The night before your test wash your hair with shampoo only, no conditioner. Your hair must be both clean and dry at the time of your Ambulatory EEG placement appointment.

On the night before and day of your Ambulatory EEG do not use any hair care products such as hairsprays, gels, or mousses.

Do not wear any hair extensions, weaves, or wigs.

Wear a loose-fitting top, preferably a button-down shirt, tank top, or shirt with a wide neck. This will make it easier to change your shirt over the course of your EEG as the leads and wires will be attached to you for the duration.

How to prepare for an Ambulatory EEG removal

Bring all equipment, accessories, and paperwork to your removal appointment.

Wear a loose-fitting top, preferably a button-down shirt, tank top, or shirt with a wide neck.

For women, we suggest not wearing makeup as water may run down your face during the removal of the leads.

Feel free to bring a hat or scarf to wrap around your head after the removal.