15-Year Journey to Seizure Freedom

Tammy Kerns is no quitter.

Multidisciplinary specialty care solves Tammy Kerns' epilepsy challenges. Read her story.

Epilepsy Awareness

Striving toward seizure freedom

Characterized by unpredictable seizures, epilepsy affects people of all ages. It is the fourth most common neurological condition. Consider:

  • One in 26 people will develop epilepsy. About 3.4 million people throughout the nation live with epilepsy, including 132,000 people in Kansas and Missouri.

  • About 70% of patients with epilepsy can control their symptoms with one or two seizure medications.

  • Patients who have seizures after trying two medications have less than a 4% chance of finding success with additional medications.

  • Only 1% of people with epilepsy are referred to a comprehensive epilepsy center for surgical evaluation and other treatment benefits.

  • 200,000 new cases of epilepsy are diagnosed annually; 30% of these patients will be under the age of 18 when diagnosed.

The University of Kansas Health System is the only Level 4 Epilepsy Center in the state of Kansas. Accredited by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers, our program is recognized as providing complex forms of intensive neurodiagnostic monitoring: extensive medical, neuropsychological and psychosocial treatment; and complete evaluation for epilepsy surgery along with a range of surgical procedures.

Our epileptologists – dedicated neurologists who focus exclusively on epilepsy care – collaborate with specialists including neurosurgeons, neuroradiologists and neuropsychologists to provide complete care.

A life without seizures is possible. To schedule an appointment, call 913-588-1227 or request your appointment online.

Vocabulary check

Common terms you may hear as you pursue quality epilepsy care for yourself or a loved one include:

  • Epileptologist: A specially trained neurologist who focuses exclusively on epilepsy care

  • Functional MRI: A noninvasive technique for measuring brain activity, used to effectively evaluate brain function – such as language and memory – as it relates to the location of seizure activity

  • Electroencephalography (EEG): A noninvasive test that records the brain's electrical activity

  • Long-term epilepsy monitoring (LTM): Sometimes called video EEG monitoring, this test, conducted during a 3- to 7-day hospital stay, provides trained staff with greater understanding of the nature of a person's symptoms and condition

  • Visual evoked potentials (VEP): A noninvasive test to check the interaction between the brain and the nerves that carry visual information from the eyes

  • Somatosensory evoked potentials (SSEP): A noninvasive test that stimulates large nerves in the extremities to evaluate for condition issues between the nerves, spine and brain

  • Nerve condition studies (NCS): Similar to an SSEP, a noninvasive test that stimulates nerves in the body and records the response to check for conduction-related issues

  • Electromyography (EMG): A slightly invasive test only performed by a board-certified physician that assesses muscle fiber recruitment

  • Intraoperative monitoring (IOM): Monitoring performed by trained professionals while a patient is in surgery to assess the motor and sensory tracks of the nervous system

  • Seizure freedom: The successful medical or surgical control of epilepsy – and our goal for every patient – that puts a stop to unexpected seizures that disrupt or endanger the lives of those living with epilepsy.

Learn more about our philosophy on epilepsy care and the advanced treatment options our specialty team offers.