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Ambulatory Monitoring

Ambulatory monitoring is a prolonged, continuous EEG recording using a small portable computer that you take home

Reasons for an ambulatory monitoring test:

  • to record sleep through the night
  • to capture 'events' or seizures
  • to determine what kind of seizures your child is having and how often they are happening

This computer can record for up to 24 continuous hours.

  • The same number of electrodes are applied as for a routine EEG. The electrodes are applied with a special hair glue, and then covered with a hat (similar to a bathing cap). Your child must wear this hat at all times during the monitoring.
  • Once the electrodes are applied to your child's head, they are attached to a small, battery-operated computer. The computer is put into a backpack that your child will wear or carry with them at all times during the monitoring. This backpack weighs about 2 pounds (just under 1 kg).
  • Before you leave the department the technologist will show you how the equipment works and what you will be asked to do. The technologist will also show you how to check the machine every so often to make sure that everything is running properly.
  • You will come back the following day to have the electrodes taken off. This usually takes about 30 minutes.


A responsible adult (parent, family member or caregiver) must be with your child at all times during the monitoring:

  • to keep the equipment safe -  the equipment is very expensive and you are responsible for its safety once you leave the hospital. We will ask you to sign a release form stating that you will take full responsibility for the equipment

  • to keep your child safe while wearing the equipment 

  • to press the event button when the test is being done to capture 'events' or seizures

All children must have clean, dry hair (no gel, hairspray or oil).

As some children (especially teens) feel self-conscious about wearing the equipment, we suggest they bring a large hat or hoodie and their own backpack to help them feel less conspicuous. 

Make sure your child is wearing clothing with buttons or a zipper, as they will not be able to remove clothing over their head whilst the equipment is in place.

You will need to sign a release form stating that you accept responsibility for the equipment. Please call the EEG department at 604-875-2124 before your appointment date if:

  • you are worried that you cannot keep the equipment safe
  • you are concerned that your child will not be able to handle having the electrodes on for 24 hours
  • you cannot make arrangements for responsible adults familiar with your child to supervise for the full time of the monitoring
  • you have any other concerns

During the Test
During the test:
  • Attached to the computer is an alarm/event button, when your child has an "event", press the button.
    • This will be a guide for the doctor when they read the test. The beginning of an event gives us the best information, so press the button as soon as possible after the event starts.
  • In the diary provided, write down the time of the event and a description of what your child was doing at that time.
During the test your child cannot shower or bathe. The equipment must not be exposed to water.

Please keep your child home from school while they are being monitored, unless the "events" in question only happen at school, or during school activities.

If your child will be with another caregiver, explain the monitoring in advance. It is best if you can stay with your child so you can press the event button if needed.

It is important that your child does not participate in any "rough play" or sports with the monitoring equipment. 

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