University of Pittsburgh Comprehensive Epilepsy Center (UPCEC)

The University of Pittsburgh Comprehensive Epilepsy Center (UPCEC) is accredited by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC) as a level 4 epilepsy center. Level 4 epilepsy centers have the professional expertise and facilities to provide the highest level medical and surgical evaluation and treatment for patients with complex epilepsy.

The UPCEC provides state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment services to adults and children with seizures. The center is a joint program combining the resources of the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), and Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh (CHP). Established in 1986, it provides regional referral and consultative services to Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and beyond. The staff specializes in the evaluation and treatment of patients with forms of epilepsy that are difficult to diagnose or manage. The center is led by Anto Bagić, MD, PhD, FAES, FACNSJorge Gonzalez-Martinez, MD, PhD (Adult Program, PUH) and Christina Patterson, MD (Pediatric Program, CHP) serve as co-directors. With the creation of the UPMC MEG Center, under the direction of Dr. Bagić, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center was one of the first facilities in the multistate region to offer whole-head MEG evaluations to patients with intractable epilepsy and other brain disorders. In addition, research conducted at the Epilepsy Center has contributed to the introduction of multiple new antiepileptic drugs over the past decades.

The epilepsy clinical care facilities of the UPCEC and UPMC include:

  • Eight adult epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU) beds for long- or short-term continuous closed-circuit television/electroencephalographic (CCTV/EEG) monitoring. Adult UPMC EMU is in Presbyterian University Hospital (PUH) and is among selected EMUs equipped with remotely controlled automatic SPECT injectors.
  • Eight pediatric epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU) beds for long- or short-term continuous closed-circuit television/electroencephalographic (CCTV/EEG) monitoring. Pediatric UPMC EMU is in Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh (CHP) and was one of the first EMUs in the Country equipped with remotely controlled automatic SPECT injectors.
  • Adult and pediatric outpatient ambulatory care facilities.
  • Dedicated adult and pediatric VNS Clinics.
  • Dedicated adult RNS Clinic.
  • Adult and pediatric EEG laboratories.
  • Ambulatory digital EEG capabilities.
  • Adult Continuous ICU EEG Monitoring Service.
  • Pediatric Continuous ICU EEG monitoring capabilities.
  • State-of-the-art neurosurgical operating rooms.
  • PET scanning facilities.
  • Anatomic and functional MRI facilities with 3.0 and 7.0T scanners (including MRI spectroscopy).
  • SPECT scanning facilities (for ictal and interictal studies).
  • Advanced image processing capabilities (for subtraction SPECT studies, MR planar image reconstruction, and MR surface reconstruction for surgical cases).
  • A state-of-the-art magnetoencephalography (MEG) facility featuring 306 sensors for whole head MEG recording, and 128 channel EEG recording capabilities.

The facilities at the center and expertise of the staff enable the staff to:

  • Establish a definitive diagnosis in patients with paroxysmal symptoms of uncertain cause.
  • Establish optimal medication regimens to maximize seizure control and minimize side-effects.
  • Identify patients with medication-resistant seizures for surgical treatment alternatives
  • Localize epileptic brain regions for respective surgery.
  • Map vital or eloquent brain areas in relation to the epileptogenic area.
  • Perform epilepsy surgery.
  • Conduct detailed neuropsychological evaluations.
  • Monitor antiepileptic drugs and their metabolites in relation to seizures, cognitive function, other drugs, and environmental or physiological factors that affect antiepileptic drug disposition.
  • Conduct clinical trials of investigational new drugs.
  • Diagnose and treat psychogenic seizures.
  • Offer a range of rehabilitation and psychosocial services and referrals.

For a complete overview of the University of Pittsburgh Comprehensive Epilepsy Center, click on the brochure below or visit the for more information.