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News Seton’s Epilepsy Programs for Children and Adults are Tops in the Region

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Epilepsy care at Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas and Seton Brain & Spine Institute (SBSI) has been recognized as the best in the region.

The National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC) recently designated the epilepsy programs at Dell Children's Medical Center and SBSI "Level 4" centers, the highest possible ranking.

Dell Children's and SBSI are the only places in Central Texas with programs that offer this advanced level of epilepsy care for children and adults. Level 4 centers provide complete epilepsy evaluations, surgical procedures and complex operations, including the use of intracranial electrodes and functional cortical mapping - medical techniques that use electrodes placed directly on the brain's surface to record electrical activity from the cerebral cortex.

According to NAEC guidelines, Level 4 epilepsy centers serve as regional or national referral sites. The Level 4 designation is awarded to hospitals and medical centers that provide complex and multi-disciplinary forms of care such as intensive neurodiagnostic monitoring, as well as extensive medical, neuropsychological and psychosocial treatment. The two programs are supported by highly trained specialists, subspecialists and nursing staff.

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"Our epilepsy teams are committed to providing the best continuum of care for our patients-from childhood all the way through adulthood," said Dr. Mark Lee, neurosurgeon for epilepsy patients at both Dell Children's and SBSI. "This streamlining of care eliminates the need for our patients to travel to other cities such as San Antonio or Dallas and keeps them close to home."

The Comprehensive Epilepsy Program at Dell Children's has a seven-bed monitoring unit and the latest diagnostic equipment. SBSI's epilepsy monitoring unit at UMC Brackenridge is a five-bed facility, also uses state-of-art diagnostic equipment and offers round-the-clock monitoring for epilepsy patients. Many of these patients come from Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and other parts of Texas to receive treatment.

Dr. Dave Clarke, epileptologist and medical director of the Dell Children's Comprehensive Epilepsy Program, joined Seton in 2010 to build the hospital's epilepsy program.

"What I saw at Dell Children's was all the pieces needed to create an outstanding epilepsy center that provides both medical and surgical treatment," said Dr. Clarke. "It's rewarding to have all of our hard work over the past year recognized as a leading center for epilepsy management."

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Last year, Dell Children's treated nearly 200 epilepsy patients, including many who were resistant to anti-seizure medication. This year, Dr. Clarke estimates about 480 children will go through the program. He says they are well equipped to handle the sharp increase in patients because they have recruited some of the nations' top specialists. The team has treated children from as far away as Mississippi and Georgia, as well as several international patients.

Said, Dr. Lee, "The rapid expansion of the pediatric epilepsy program has put Dell Children's on track to become one of the highest volume pediatric epilepsy surgery programs in the country this year."

The National Association of Epilepsy Centers was founded by physician leaders committed to setting a national agenda for quality epilepsy care. The non-profit association has a membership of more than 100 specialized epilepsy centers in the United States.

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