The area of seizure monitors or alert devices is a area of research which is constantly developing. To date there has been no proven evidence to indicate that using a monitor or alert device can guarantee the safety of a person experiencing seizures. No alert device or monitor has been designed to prevent seizures or the possible impact of seizures. Research is continuing in this area to determine the benefits of this technology.
SUDEP Action in the UK has developed a list of questions which can help you to research safety alert devices on offer:
- Which seizure type or types does this monitor pick up?
- Is this safety device suitable for my type of epilepsy?
- How many or what percentage of seizures is this monitor likely to pick up?
- How often does this monitor give out a false alarm?
- Will this monitor get in the way of my day to day living?
- What is the cost of the monitor?
- What are the potential issues I may experience with this monitor (eg: false alarms)
The document linked below provides an overview of monitors, alert devices, apps and other aids which are currently available. The document provides links to where the devices can be purchased as well as costs.
The Epilepsy Foundation does not warrant or endorse these products, instead we offer introductory information about the potential of these devices. We recommend that you speak to your doctor or specialist about whether a device is something that you might choose to use.
What is a seizure monitor?
A seizure monitor can help notify others when a seizure happens. An alarm is then triggered so that assistance can be provided. Seizure monitors, which are sometimes called alarms, can be helpful especially for children who have seizures during the night. Whilst a monitor cannot guarantee safety or be accurate in detecting all seizures, they can provide a level of peace of mind for some people.
However, learn as much as you can about these devices and speak to your doctor before making a purchase or commencing use of one. This will help you to decide whether a particular device is suitable for your situation and needs.
Some monitors or alert devices involve ‘wearable technology’ – smart electronic devices that you wear as an accessory (like a watch). Some watch-based seizure alert devices respond to repeated shaking movements, which may indicate the person is having a seizure. This can be useful for detecting tonic-clonic seizures, as well as focal motor seizures (if there is enough movement involved). Some of the benefits of these devices include:
- They respond to some forms of seizure activity that involve big repeated movements.
- In the event that abnormal activity is detected, they connect with your SmartPhone to send alerts to caregivers or loved ones who can provide you with assistance.
Some of the limitations of these devices include:
- They cannot detect all types of seizures. If your seizures do not involve big repeated movements, then the device will generally not be triggered.
- They can cost several hundred dollars, which may not be affordable for some people.