Background: Many Veterans live far away from a VAMC with substantial electroencephalography (EEG) expertise. Travel is difficult for epilepsy patients since they often cannot drive. We propose to study a novel dry electrode system (DES) which does not require EEG technologists to operate and can be operated by a nurse assistant. This DES integrates the electrodes and EEG amplifier into a compact headset which is easily placed on the head (without skin preparation) and could be used in an epilepsy telemedicine outreach program along with clinical interviews. We have performed three preliminary studies with DES headsets. In our first two studies in 33 Veterans performed at a VAMC, we found that the DES was quick to apply, taking only 5-6 minutes to put on by a research subject with the assistance of a neurologist. Subjects preferred the DES headset over the standard EEG system (SES). In our third study a nurse performed 30 DES recordings in a VA community based outpatient clinic (CBOC). Rating of the EEG recordings on a five point scale by three board certified clinical EEG experts (after automated EEG artifact reduction was applied to the recordings) showed that all 30 recordings were of acceptable quality (rated 3 out of 5 or higher with some artifact present) and 18 of 30 recordings were of good quality (rate 4 or above with only minor artifacts present). Significant Impact: This study will improve access of Veterans with epilepsy living in rural areas to the most important diagnostic procedure for the care of patients with epilepsy: the routine EEG. Being able to perform routine EEG in CBOCs can decrease cost to the VA system since DES EEG systems are less expensive and because Veterans will not have to travel to VAMCs for EEG. This study will also test the DES system to make sure it can record epileptiform transients (ETs), the pattern in EEG which indicates that patients have epilepsy. Innovation: This study is innovative because it will use a new recording system for EEG that just got FDA approval. This new DES EEG recording system provides a method for recording EEG which is cheaper and much easier to perform than conventional EEG. This study is also innovative because it will test for the first time if a DES can reliably record ETs. (The FDA approval for the DES system was based on EEG signal quality only and not whether it could reliably detect ETs.) The study will also use a new FDA-approved method for automatically removing artifactual signals which can obscure DES EEG recordings. Specific Aims: The first aim of the project is to test the ability of the DES to record ETs versus the SES. The second aim is to collect data on appointment wait time, appointment cancellation rate, and procedure cost of DES versus SES to project the improvement in Veteran access and potential cost-benefit of DES EEG performed in CBOCs versus SES EEG performed in VAMCs. Methodology: This is a randomized controlled trial which will be performed at three sites: the Charleston VAMC, Durham VAMC, and Miami VAMC. For Specific Aim 1, 400 Veterans (200 with a history of an abnormal EEGs in which ETs were recorded and 200 prospective Veterans scheduled for an outpatient EEG) will be recruited to have a DES EEG procedure and a SES EEG procedure performed during a single study visit in a VAMC by an EEG technologist. Each EEG recording will be interpreted and rated for technical quality by three study investigators, who will also annotate the location of ETs in each EEG recording. The fraction of EEGs which demonstrate ETs and the technical quality ratings will be compared. For Specific Aim 2, data will be collected on 300 prospective Veterans scheduled for an outpatient routine EEG, including appointment cancellation rate, travel cost, and other patient factors. Costs for EEG equipment/supplies as well as technician effort/salary and nurse and nurse assistant effort/salary will also be collected. This will be used to project the potential improvement in patient access and potential cost savings of a nurse or nurse technician performing outpatient DES EEG in a CBOC versus an EEG technician performing outpatient SES EEG in a VAMC.
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Grant Number: I01HX003107-01A2
None at this time.
Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries and Disorders
Treatment - Efficacy/Effectiveness Clinical Trial, TRL - Applied/Translational
Clinical Diagnosis and Screening, Patient Preferences, TBI, Telemedicine/Telehealth
None at this time.