CHKD Epilepsy Center Earns Elite Level 3 Certification From the National Association of Epilepsy Centers

Elizabeth Earley: (757) 668-9049 or Elizabeth.Earley@CHKD.org
2019-04-16

NORFOLK, Va. – The neuroscience unit at CHKD has been accredited as an esteemed Level 3 epilepsy center by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers, making it one of four pediatric facilities in the state to be certified.

The NAEC accredits Level 3 centers for providing a comprehensive team approach to the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy, including medical, neurological, and psychological aspects. These centers bring together neurologists, neurosurgeons, nurse specialists, EEG technologists, pharmacists, social workers, and others to provide an integrated system of care.

The organization defines four levels of centers, and grants certifications to the two highest, Levels 3 and 4. In Virginia, eight hospitals are certified, with CHKD the only free-standing children’s hospital to achieve that designation.

"CHKD’s epilepsy center brings together highly trained pediatric specialists who work as a team using the most advanced monitoring equipment,” said Dr. Michael Strunc, a CHKD pediatric neurologist who is the medical director of the neuroscience unit.  “We’re honored to have earned this designation that reflects our commitment to children with neurological disorders.”

At CHKD, four video EEG rooms with state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment enable neurologists and epileptologists – neurologists who specialize in epilepsy – to confirm the presence of seizures and to monitor them over time.

The most common treatment is medication, based on the type of seizure, age of the child, side effects, cost, and east of use. The center also offers surgical options. There’s also a treatment called “vagus nerve stimulator,” in which a pacemaker-like device is implanted to stimulate the vagus nerve, which runs from the brain to the torso. The device sends small pulses of energy to the brain to stop seizures. It works without patients even being aware of it most of the time, but if they sense a seizure coming on, they can swipe a magnet over the left chest area to send an extra burst of stimulation.

The unit also has a dietitian who oversees a ketogenic diet program, which is a special type of diet that reduces seizures in some children for whom medication doesn’t work.

In the two years since the neuroscience unit opened, close to 900 patients with seizures have been treated. For more information on epilepsy and treatments at CHKD, visit this website:  CHKD Epilepsy Program.

A 6-year-old patient is evaluated at CHKD's neuroscience unit, which was just accredited as a Level 3 epilepsy center by the American Association of Epilepsy Centers. The designation means the unit provides comprehensive, integrated services for the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy.

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CHKD is the only freestanding children’s hospital in Virginia and serves the medical and surgical needs of children throughout greater Hampton Roads, the Eastern Shore of Virginia, and northeastern North Carolina. The not-for-profit CHKD Health System operates primary care pediatric practices, surgical practices, multi-service health centers, urgent care centers, and satellite offices throughout its service region.