Epilepsy is a condition of repeated seizures. More than 3 million people of all ages in the U.S. have epilepsy. One of the most common disorders involving the brain, epilepsy and its symptoms affect people of all ages, races, and ethnic backgrounds.
The South Texas Comprehensive Epilepsy Center (STCEC) is a partnership program between University Health System and UT Medicine San Antonio and is the only center to receive a Level 4 designation, the highest accreditation, from the National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC) in San Antonio.
The STCEC offers the most advanced medical, dietary and surgical therapies to people with epilepsy whose seizures are not controlled by medications. As a comprehensive epilepsy center, the STCEC provides both inpatient and outpatient diagnostic evaluations to determine the best treatment for adults and children with epilepsy. In addition to the diagnosis and medical therapy, adult and pediatric patients may participate in trials of new seizure medications not yet available or surgical interventions, ranging from the vagal nerve stimulator (VNS) implantation to brain surgery. Pediatric and adult epilepsy surgery is offered at University Hospital by epilepsy specialists and neurosurgeons experienced in temporal lobe and extratemporal surgeries. More than 3,000 patients are seen by epilepsy specialists at the clinics of UT Medicine, University Health System – Robert B. Green Campus, and the Audie Murphy Veterans’ Administration Hospital each year. Epilepsy specialists also support the outreach clinics of the Epilepsy Foundation of South and Central Texas in San Antonio, Harlingen, Eagle Pass and Uvalde.
University Hospital houses a eleven-bed video-EEG monitoring unit, which includes beds in the pediatric transitional and intensive care units as well as adult floors. The state-of-the-art unit features a fully computerized digital recording system with 24-hour attended monitoring by highly experienced nurses and technical staff. Admission to the epilepsy monitoring unit allows patients’ seizures to be recorded and characterized, seizure medications to be changed, and more precise localization of the area of the brain where the seizures begin.
Other special services include sophisticated neuroimaging, including high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ictal single-photon-emission computed tomography (SPECT) and positron emission tomography (PET). Based upon the results of the testing, patients may be offered new seizure medications, enrolled in studies assessing the safety and benefit of medications before they become available to the general public, or will be further evaluated for surgical intervention.
The faculty of the South Texas Comprehensive Epilepsy Center is also involved in the training of subspecialists and research. Basic laboratory and clinical epilepsy research aims to improve the lives of patients with epilepsy and epilepsy symptoms. Their findings are published in medical and scientific journals, and faculty is often invited to present at national and international meetings of epilepsy specialists.