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Epilepsy and Seizure Program Meets Demand for Specialized Care

Feb 14 2022

Since 2016, we have been proud to have neurologist Jimmy Couch, DO, the only fellowship-trained epileptologist in western Kentucky, caring for patients with epilepsy at Mercy Health – Lourdes Hospital. He does this both in his practice and in the hospital’s epilepsy monitoring unit. Demand for Dr. Couch’s services is high, as epilepsy is a common brain disorder affecting people of all ages.

“Stroke, head or brain injuries, loss of oxygen to the brain, brain tumors, brain infections and certain genetic conditions are some of the things that can cause epilepsy,” Dr. Couch says. “But, in most cases, we won’t be able to determine the cause.”

Symptoms of epilepsy include:

  • Seizures
  • Abnormal behavior
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle contractions and spasms

“Not all seizures are epileptic seizures though,” Dr. Couch shares. “Fevers, low blood sugar, heart conditions and other conditions can trigger non-epileptic seizures. It’s important to see a doctor when you have a seizure so we can do testing and diagnosis to see what’s causing it.”

Thanks to funding provided by the Mercy Health Foundation, Lourdes Hospital was able to renovate and double the size of its epilepsy monitoring unit last year. Adults and children age 4 and older who’ve had seizures or need help managing epilepsy can undergo epilepsy monitoring as inpatients in the unit. Dr. Couch and his team members use EEGs to the study the electrical activity of patients’ brains.

“EEGs are safe and painless,” Dr. Couch says. “We attach small electrodes to your scalp. They connect to an EEG machine that records the electrical activity in your brain as something we call traces. Each trace relates to a certain part of your brain. What we see can help us determine if your seizures are related to epilepsy or another condition so that we can plan your care accordingly.”

There are many treatment options available for people experiencing epileptic and non-epileptic seizures, including dietary changes, medications and implanted devices. Dr. Couch also works with his brother Jonathan Couch, DO, a neurosurgeon with whom he shares an office, to implant devices that can reduce the number and severity of seizures.

“It’s important to note that epilepsy and seizures are manageable,” Dr. Couch adds. “Once we know if a patient has epilepsy or why they are experiencing seizures, we can control the condition and patients can mostly go back to living a normal life.”Learn more about the neurology services we offer at Mercy Health.

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