1. CT scan
A CT scan or a computerized tomography shows the physical structure of the head and the brain. In case of a trauma, there might be damage to the tissues of the brain and the presence of scar tissue that might cause epileptic seizures. The CT scan helps in identifying and locating the presence of any such trauma. It is a painless non invasive test that uses a special X Ray machine. The duration of the test is not more than 10 minutes.
2. Kidney function test
The kidney function tests are conducted to measure how well the kidneys work. There are four types of kidney function tests to measure the various chemicals. It also measures the levels of sodium and potassium, which are very important for nerve conduction. Abnormal levels of sodium and potassium might cause abnormal nerve and electrical activity in the brain causing seizures. This is an invasive test, where a blood sample needs to be taken. It might be mildly painful.
3. CSF analysis
CSF or Cerebro Spinal Fluid analysis is an analysis of the fluid surrounding the brain and the spinal cord. The test mainly measures the contents of the CSF, namely glucose and protein and some white blood cells. It also measures whether the pressure of the CSF is normal or not. When there is a trauma to the brain, then the component or the pressure of CSF might change. This might result in seizures.
This is an invasive test because it involves withdrawal of the cerebrospinal fluid from around the spinal cord called the lumbar puncture and, therefore, can be extremely painful. Therefore, sedatives or pain medication are given to the patient. The entire test may take about 30 minutes.
4. CBC test
CBC or Complete Blood Count test measures all the components of the person’s blood and helps pinpoint any abnormality. The Complete Blood Count test also helps check the chemical composition of the blood. Here the levels of the chemicals sodium and potassium are measured in order to find out whether they are affecting or causing any of the seizures. This is an invasive test that can be done in one visit and does not need multiple visits to the doctor.
5. Blood sugar test
A low blood sugar might sometimes cause seizures, which might resemble epileptic seizures. Therefore, for people having seizures, a blood sugar test might be conducted in order to rule out a low blood sugar. This is an invasive test where a blood test is done. Blood sample is taken after a meal, in order to measure the level of sugar or glucose in the blood.
6. MRI scan
MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging is another test for studying the brain. The MRI test studies whether epileptic seizures are caused by an abnormality of the brain. The MRI test might be an invasive test when the radiographer might inject a dye into the person’s body to make sure that the tissues are seen clearly. The dye is injected into a vein of the forearm or hand. The MRI scan is for three types of people. People who had epileptic seizures since the age of two, people who have had an injury or trauma to the brain, and people in whom the seizures occur in spite of medication.
7. EEG scan
An EEG or electroencephalograph is a test for measuring the electrical activity of the brain. If this test is taken during the time of a seizure, it can even show information like the area from which the seizures originate and show whether this brain activity is normal or not. During this test, metal disks are attached to certain parts of the person’s head. These disks are used to directly measure the electrical activity of the brain. Therefore, this test not only confirms epilepsy, but also shows the type of epilepsy. The duration of the test is usually 20 minutes, but during this time the brain may not show any unusual activity. Therefore, the entire procedure takes about 90 minutes. During this test, the EEG monitors the brain activity and also takes a video of the body movements during seizures. This test requires prolonged hospitalization of the person, for a minimum of three days and maximum of five days.