Dr C P Ravikumar

Advances in Monitoring Devices for Seizures
The diagnosis of a seizure disorder for a loved one, especially a child, can be overwhelming. There seem to be so many things to keep track of, in addition to medications, investigations, scans, triggers. However, with increasing technology trends, there has been considerable advances in the way monitoring for seizures is done, which may bring relief to patients and caregivers.

1. Smart phone applications
There are several smart phone apps that help with the day to day monitoring of a patient of epilepsy and serve as electronic seizure diaries. One of the more popular applications, Epilepsy Journal, helps a patient to keep track of the frequency, duration and trends of his seizures, as well as possible triggers. Keeping a diary or log of medications and appointments, it also helps to maintain his electronic health record which can be easily shared with his treating doctor. Seizure First Aid in addition to recording the seizure duration, also displays a simple how to guide on the patient’s smart phone screen, so that any bystander coming to his aid will be able to give him preliminary care, before help arrives. Seiz Alarm is an application linked to the Apple watch and an apple smartphone, which in addition to logging patient information and health conditions, also uses motion and heart rate sensors in the Apple watch , to detect seizure like activity , and can send alerts to preprogrammed contacts along with GPS location for the patient, so that help arrives as soon as possible.

2. Wearables for Remote Monitoring
A more specific alternative to the Apple watch and software application combination, is the introduction of wearables tailor made for patients suffering from neurological disorders that may cause seizures. Made in a convenient watch or bracelet design, the Embrace Smart watch from Epatica is FDA approved to be used in children 6 years and above for the active monitoring of seizure like symptoms. The Epi Watch has been used in trials in Johns Hopkins Institute, USA and the Smart Monitor watch shows great potential as a seizure alert tool for care givers as well.

3. Mattress Devices for Seizure Detection
Sensory, easy to install, pads like the Emfit Mattress Movement Monitor, can be put under the mattress to monitor a patient’s heart rate and repetitive movement to detect the onset of a seizure and can send high frequency alarm sounds to care givers who can rush to help as soon as possible.

4. Anti-suffocation Pillows
These pillows are designed to help reduce the possibility of fatal suffocation during sleep seizures at home , where round the clock monitoring may not be possible. Sleep-Safe pillows is one such product , which aims to relive the fear of patients and their care givers and get as much sleep as they can during the nights. They are designed using a highly porous material so that they are much more breathable than normal pillows

5. Seizure Alert Cameras
The SAMi is a monitoring device connected to an app on a smart phone, that uses infra-red video camera technology to transmit audio and visual images to the smart phone app. The app analyzes the patient’s sleeping patterns and any unusual activity is flagged, and an alarm is sounded, so that care givers can take necessary action. It also has recordings log with playback controls so that physicians may also witness a seizure episode to track duration and notice triggers if any.
The technology that is now available for remote patient monitoring will hopefully make patients with seizure disorders breathe a little easier, knowing that they have the ability to call for help at the earliest. Tracking their episodes and monitoring medications may also improve compliance in patients and establish behavior patterns that may help them to avoid their triggers and control their seizures in the long run.

Disclaimer: The content given is not intended to be a form of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your physician for any questions or before changing or starting medications or therapies.
Picture of Dr C P Ravikumar

Dr C P Ravikumar

Aster CMI Hospital, Bangalore