Video Recording Myself Having A Focal Onset Seizure Or Partial Seizure - 10/5/2017
Recording Epilepsy Seizures
Jotting down the symptoms of an epilepsy seizure to take to the doctor is helpful, but nothing captures what really happens during a seizure like recording the event on video.
By Diana Rodriguez
Medically Reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH
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When your doctor asks you what happens during a seizure, it's probably difficult for you to explain. Although you might recall some details from before the seizure and just as it was starting, it isn’t likely that you’ll remember anything about the seizure itself and maybe not events afterwards. That's when friends, family, and a video recording will come in handy.
How Video Helps Doctors Understand Seizures
It's always important to give your doctor the most accurate representation and description of your seizures as possible. Keeping a log of seizure symptoms is a great way to do that. But it's even better if the doctor can see for herself what you look like and how your body reacts during a seizure. A video of you during a seizure can give her those details.
In addition to looking at your video, your doctor may use a technique called video-EEG (for electroencephalogram) monitoring to diagnose and pinpoint your seizures. This diagnostic test uses both a video camera and an EEG machine to capture what physically happens to the body and inside the brain.
How to Record an Epilepsy Seizure
Obviously, you won't be able to make a video recording of your seizures by yourself. To get the job done, you'll need to enlist the help of friends or family members.
Their job will be to help you set up the equipment, look for signs of a seizure, and start recording when a seizure strikes. It's also a good idea to have the equipment set up and ready to go in one area of your home so that when a seizure happens, you're prepared and won't miss an important moment.
For the best possible video, follow these steps to capture what happens to you:
- The equipment.Invest in a decent-quality video camera with good sound recording. Try to prop it up ready to go on a tripod. Using a tripod will allow the person to zoom and record while getting a clear, steady picture of the seizure in action.
- Lighting.Capturing everything on video won't do you or your doctor any good if the appropriate lighting isn't set up and the footage is too dark to see clearly. Your doctor needs to see every detail — including the color and pallor of your skin. The right light will help capture all the details. So instead of depending on daylight, fluorescents, or regular light bulbs, turn on the camera’s "white balance" option for the truest picture and color.
- What to record.As soon as you feel a seizure coming on or your friend or family member notices symptoms, start recording. You want to capture the details of how the seizure started, what you were doing before, if your eyes are rolling, your breathing is changing, and if you lose control of your bladder or bowels. The video recording will also be helpful in recording the exact duration of the seizure.
- Keep the cameras rolling.What happens just after the seizure is over is just as important as what happens during it. Keep recording the after-effects of the seizure, because your doctor will want to look for symptoms like drowsiness and confusion.
Covering Video Recording Costs
While video-EEG monitoring is a common diagnostic test for people with difficult-to-diagnose epilepsy, some insurance plans may not cover it.
As far as your own video goes, you should ask your health insurance company if it offers reimbursement for purchasing recording equipment specifically for diagnostic purposes, but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t. You might need to ask your doctor to go to bat for you.
If that doesn’t work, then buy frugally, or borrow equipment from a friend or family member.
Talking to Your Doctor About Your Video
Your doctor may ask you to do the video recording if she's having trouble diagnosing your epilepsy. Or you may bring the video to your next appointment to show what you've been trying to explain. Watch the video with your doctor. It might also be a good idea to jot down some notes about how you felt before and after, and have your witness write down what he saw and noticed.
Your doctor will use this information to help figure out what's causing your seizures, and where they might be occurring in the brain. The video recording is a small — but potentially very important part — of the diagnosis and treatment plan for epilepsy.
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