Sidra Medicine Expands Epilepsy Services for Children

Qatar Foundation institution launches state-of-the-art technologies and services unique to the region

Doha, Qatar, 13 February 2019: Sidra Medicine has launched new pediatric neurology sub-specialty services, installed state-of-the-art technologies and embarked on a clinical research study to understand and advance the care and treatment of children with epilepsy.

The Division of Pediatric Neurology at Sidra Medicine has set up a Neurodiagnostic laboratory that offers outpatient electroencephalography (EEG) and ambulatory home EEG services to measure brain activity and evaluate children with suspected or confirmed epilepsy. A dedicated inpatient pediatric Epilepsy Monitoring Unit (EMU) has also been installed. The EMU, a one-of-a-kind in the region and a first for Qatar, offers 24/7 simultaneous video EEG monitoring and has already helped in accurately diagnosing dozens of children.

The Neurology Division has also launched new sub-specialty pediatric clinics including the Tuberous Sclerosis clinic, Headache clinic, Complex Epilepsy clinic, Ketogenic Diet clinic and Spasticity clinic. The clinics explore all possible treatment options, beginning with conservative, non-invasive methods before considering neurosurgical procedures.

Dr. Khaled Zamel, Division Chief of Pediatric Neurology at Sidra Medicine said, “The world-class neurology staff and state-of-the-art technology assembled at Sidra Medicine has allowed us to care for patients in a more integrated manner. We have had many children whose lives have been transformed because of our application of patient and family focused neurology care initiatives. For example, thanks to the ambulatory EEG service, several of our young patients can be monitored at home while being assured the same level of treatment and care without the need to be in the hospital.”

There have been a number of patient success cases at Sidra Medicine since the launch of the EMU and EEG services including:

  • Mohammed: 11-year-old boy who used to display recurrent episodes of unexplained abnormal behavior that affected his social functions including his performance at school. He was admitted to the Sidra Medicine EMU where his episodes where monitored and recorded. This observation helped identify that Mohammed was in fact suffering from epileptic seizures. He was immediately prescribed anti-epileptic medications and has made a full recovery of his symptoms.
  • Abdulrahman: 9-year-old boy who had a history of frequent unexplained episodes especially when he was sleeping. Electrodes were placed on his head and an ambulatory EEG device was attached which allowed his brain activity to be recorded for three consecutive days while he was at home. This evaluation confirmed that the episodes he was having were indeed seizures. He was prescribed a new medication which has helped control his condition.
  • Patient K: 13-year-old girl with frequent unusual episodes that occurred on a daily basis. After being admitted to Sidra Medicine, she was started on a treatment program that led to complete control of her episodes. More interestingly, genetic testing at Sidra Medicine revealed a rare mutation that explained her condition, as well as her family history of the disease.

According to a 2017 World Health Organization consensus, epilepsy is one of the most common neurologic entities with a worldwide prevalence of 4 to 10 per 1000. While there is a high prevalence of childhood epilepsy in the Arab region, there are currently limited accurate sources of information about the condition. This lack of data can lead to misdiagnosis, which carries with it stigma, social marginalization, lifestyle limitations as well as potential side effects of inaccurately prescribed medications.

In addition to the clinical services currently provided, the Division of Pediatric Neurology is currently undertaking research that will further understanding of the landscape of childhood epilepsy in Qatar and enable a personalized approach to treatment of the chronic illness.

Dr. Ruba Benini, Attending Physician and the principal investigator on this research study stated: “Our specialized pediatric neurology team at Sidra Medicine has been collecting data from different sources including the EMU and neuro-diagnostic lab to get a more accurate picture of childhood epilepsy here in Qatar. This research data will be valuable in helping us get a proper understanding of the causes and severity of the disease including the influence of genetic factors. This will be essential in improving not only the personalized treatment of the condition for young patients in Qatar but also in the rest of the Arab world.”

- ENDS –

About Sidra Medicine

Sidra Medicine provides specialized healthcare to women, children, and young people from Qatar and around the world.

Established by Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, Sidra Medicine embraces best practice medical education, innovative biomedical and clinical research and discovery, and exceptional patient and family focused care.

Sidra Medicine provides comprehensive specialist healthcare services for children and young people, as well as maternity and gynecology care for women. Some of its unique children’s specialist services include Cardiology, Neurology, Urology and Plastics & Craniofacial Reconstruction. It is also treats and cares for pregnant women with fetal complications.

The ultramodern healthcare organization is a testament to Qatar’s pioneering spirit and sustained commitment to its human and social development.

To access Sidra Medicine services, and learn more about our contribution to global healthcare, education and research, please visit www.sidra.org.