New adult epilepsy monitoring unit running at HSC Winnipeg

This Purple DayHealth Sciences Centre (HSC) Winnipeg is celebrating the addition of an adult epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU).

HSC said the unit has four beds and is a place where patients who aren’t responding to medication can stay to see if other treatments can be explored, like surgery.

Dr. Manon Pelletier, HSC’s chief medical officer, said the unit is stocked with “modern leading-edge equipment, including the latest EEG (electroencephalogram) technology.” It is also “replacing a two-bed unit that closed in 2019 for a variety of reasons, including the failure and obsolescence of our older equipment.”

Already, Health Minister Uzoma Asagwara said 10 to 12 patients are admitted to the EMU every month.

“Now in Manitoba, there are approximately 23,000 people who live with epilepsy and seizure disorders,” the minister said, adding as many as one in 10 Manitobans experience an epileptic seizure in their lifetime.

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Of those 23,000, Pelletier said about 7,000 are expected to benefit from the new unit.

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Pat Trottier, board member of the Epilepsy and Seizures Association of Manitoba, whose son has epilepsy, said she is grateful for this addition.

“His latest challenge in a long and winding health journey is interrupted sleep. It could be the side effects of his medication or maybe something different. We don’t know yet,” she said.

“What we do know is that our talented epileptologists at HSC will have the space, time and equipment they need to solve this mystery.”

The province said it is putting $2.3 million in capital funding for the EMU, and that it will provide $2.5 million yearly for operating costs.

Along with the monitoring unit, the HSC Foundation spent $500,000 on a four-bed step-down unit for neurosurgery patients that opened in December 2023.

It’s called Unit B5B and has been “operating at near 100 per cent capacity,” Pelletier said, adding that it’s the “optimal setting for healing and recovery from complex brain surgery.”

B5B has four low-stimulation rooms with ventilation and equipment, the doctor said.

Click to play video: 'Manitoba funds adult epilepsy surgery program'

Manitoba funds adult epilepsy surgery program

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