Second to None: State-of-the-Art Epilepsy Care in the Heartland

By Patrick Landazuri, MD, epileptologist

Patrick Landazuri, MDEpilepsy is a chronic disorder characterized by recurrent seizures. It is the fourth most common neurological disorder, following migraine, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.

Epilepsy plagues about 2.2 million people in the United States today, or about seven in 1,000. The condition tends to peak in childhood and again among seniors, though no age group is exempt. Our staff treat patients ages 18 and older.

At our epilepsy center, there is a focus on evaluating each patient discretely and developing a treatment plan that is specific to his or her needs. Successful treatment is individualized treatment, and our multidisciplinary team of epileptologists, nurses, neuropsychologists and neurosurgeons collaborate to analyze numerous factors that together suggest the most appropriate, personalized course of action.

Controlling epilepsy symptoms

Both medical and surgical treatments can be used to achieve effective control of epilepsy. New medicines emerge regularly that provide different options for patients, with the goal of optimizing outcomes while minimizing negative side effects and drug-to-drug interactions. Medical treatment is generally the first approach toward seizure control, but research shows that after two to three different medications fail to achieve seizure freedom, there is merely a 1% chance that continued medical therapy will control the condition. If a patient reaches this point, he or she may be a candidate for surgical therapy.

Past medical therapy alone

Numerous considerations must be weighed before and during a patient’s surgical evaluation. Again, this determination involves the combined expertise of a diverse care team dedicated to assessing the patient’s condition and analyzing the risks and benefits of surgical treatment.

During the surgical candidate’s initial evaluation, epileptologists observe and record seizures during an inpatient stay at the center’s Epilepsy Monitoring Unit. A high-resolution MRI with an epilepsy-specific protocol is performed to search for a structural cause of the person’s epilepsy. The metabolism of the brain can be studied with functional imaging. The patient will see a neuropsychologist to assess a range of cognitive functions including language and memory function.

A team approach to treatment

After this information is obtained, the patient’s candidacy is assessed in a multidisciplinary surgical epilepsy conference, which includes epileptologists, neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists, EEG technicians and epilepsy nurses. These experts examine the data together and collaborate to make the best recommendation for the patient’s unique condition and treatment goals.

The value of communication throughout the care process cannot be overemphasized. Care team members communicate easily and frequently. Perhaps the most invaluable member of the care team is the patient. From sharing treatment goals and expectations to adhering to medication or other protocols, the patient’s proactive involvement is essential to success.

When to refer

When your patients have uncontrolled seizures, an uncertain epilepsy diagnosis or require an epilepsy specialist’s care, The University of Kansas Hospital’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Center can explore the full range of medical and surgical therapies.

From our in-depth knowledge of leading-edge treatment options for managing focal and generalized epilepsy, to our unparalleled commitment to team collaboration and individualized patient attention, we are ready to serve your patients and support them in controlling their conditions.

Dr. Landazuri is a board-certified epileptologist and neurologist at The University of Kansas Hospital. He also serves as a clinical assistant professor at the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center at the University of Kansas Medical Center.

To consult with one of our neurologists or epileptologists, please call 913-588-5862, or toll free 877-588-5862. Or, contact us online.