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What is an Ambulatory EEG test?

This test is similar to that of the EEG monitoring test records the patterns of electrical changes both normal and abnormal, from the millions of nerve cells in the brain. The Ambulatory EEG monitoring test gives patients the capability to walk around and carry on normally while recordings are being made. The test is not harmful and is painless. This test typically lasts 3 to 4 days.


Preparing for the Ambulatory EEG monitoring test

Prior to the ambulatory EEG test you should:

Wash your hair the night before using only shampoo and water. Do not use styling aids such as hair gels, mousse, hairspray or oils of any kind. These products can interfere with the electrodes and limit the usefulness of the test.

Eat normally and take your regularly scheduled medications as prescribed by your doctor.

Wear shirts that button or zipper so they can be removed without passing over your head. Once the electrodes are in place it will be difficult to take off your shirt over your head if you cannot unbutton or unzip them.

Electrode Application

You will be given a time and location to report for application of the electrodes. During this time the electrodes will be placed on your head and the recording of the brain activity will start. The electrodes used in this test are small metal disks placed on the skin by the EEG technologist in a simple procedure, which should take approximately 1 hour. A paste or glue will be used to stick the electrodes to your scalp. A gauze wrap is then used to keep the electrodes and wires together out of you way. Please note the following:

  • Children having the test should have a parent or guardian with them throughout the entire electrode application procedure.
  • If you do not speak English it would be helpful to arrange for a translator to accompany you to the test.
  • You may bring with you a hat or scarf to wear over the head wrap once the electrode application has been completed.

The Ambulatory EEG Test

Once the electrodes have been applied to your scalp they will be connected to a small computer that you will be taking home with you. The computer is small enough to be easily carried. It is placed in a sack that can be slung over the shoulder. The technologist will go over the operation of the device. This is a good time to ask any questions that you may have thought of. You will be going home with the electrode head wrap and computer. A typical test will last 4 days (3 nights). Please note the following:

Do not under any circumstances take a shower while the test is in progress. You may wash from the neck down with a washcloth. Be careful not to get any water into the computer.

No gum chewing during the test.

No tampering of any kind with the computer or electrodes.

Do not drop the computer.

You will be provided with an Event Calendar that needs to be filled out in the event of any episodes. Recording the date and time of the event along with a brief description of what occurred is extremely important.

The technologist will discuss the event button. This is a small button on the side of the computer that should be pressed in the event of an episode. By pressing this button the physician reviewing the study will know exactly when the episode occurred and will be able to see what changes occurred on the EEG.

Completion of the test

The technologist will inform you of when and where to return the electrodes and computer. The Event Calendar should be returned at this time as well. In order to avoid any delays in the reading of your study please return the equipment as directed. In most circumstances you will be asked to remove the electrodes at your home the morning the study is completed. The electrodes may be removed as follows:

Remove the net from your head. Using a cotton ball with Acetone or nail polish remover, soak each electrode for approximately 30 seconds or longer as required to loosen the gauze and electrode.

Additional epilepsy information is available on these pages:


Raymond Rybicki, MD

This information is for general educational uses only. It may not apply to you and your specific medical needs. This information should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation with or the advice of your physician or health care professional. Communicate promptly with your physician or other health care professional with any health-related questions or concerns.

Be sure to follow specific instructions given to you by your physician or health care professional.

The materials provided at this site are for informational purposes and are not intended for use as diagnosis or treatment of a health problem or as substitute for consulting a licensed medical professional. Check with a physician if you suspect you are ill, or believe you may have one of the problems discussed on our website, as many problems and diseases may be serious and even life-threatening. Also note while we frequently update our website's content, medical information changes rapidly.

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