What is a pediatric epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU)?

A pediatric epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU) is an inpatient unit run by a multifaceted team of epilepsy specialists. Children referred to the EMU range from those being monitored for surgery, medically uncontrollable seizures, or have no known cause for their seizures.

What should I bring to the EMU?

All medications and home medical equipment, such as a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), should be brought to the EMU. It is recommended that children wear loose-fitting clothing or shirts that button in the front, or they will be provided a hospital gown to wear. Visitors are permitted and for patients under the age of 18 or those with special needs, one family member should be present for the duration of their stay. Books, games, crafts, and toys are allowed to help pass the time.

What to expect during my time in the EMU?

A typical stay in the EMU can range from three to seven days, depending on the patient’s case. An IV is usually placed, should the need arise, to administer emergency medications. Because patients will be hooked up to electrodes for the entirety of their stay, showers are not permitted. However, having a sponge bath at the sink is allowed. During their time in the EMU, patients are monitored around the clock for any sign of a seizure. Monitoring will include video recordings, computerized electroencephalogram (EEG) monitoring equipment, microphones, and a button to press should the patient feel a seizure coming on. The goal of the EMU is to locate the area of the brain where the seizure activity occurs. Through this evaluation and diagnosis, the patient’s doctor can better personalize their treatment plan.

Where is the pediatric EMU located?

UT Physicians collaborates with Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital for a state-of-the-art EMU. It is the largest and most comprehensive unit of its kind in this region.