December 17, 2020

Seizure Detection at Home: Do Devices on the Market Match the Needs of People Living With Epilepsy and Their Caregivers?

Abstract, originally published in Epilepsia

In patients with epilepsy, the potential to prevent seizure-related injuries and to improve the unreliability of seizure self-report have fostered the development and marketing of numerous seizure detection devices for home use.

Understanding the requirements of users (patients and caregivers) is essential to improve adherence and mitigate barriers to the long-term use of such devices. Here we reviewed the evidence on the needs and preferences of users and provided an overview of currently marketed devices for seizure detection (medically approved or with published evidence for their performance). We then compared devices with known needs. Seizure-detection devices are expected to improve safety and clinical and self-management, and to provide reassurance to users.

Key factors affecting a device’s usability relate to its design (attractive appearance, low visibility, low intrusiveness), comfort of use, confidentiality of recorded data, and timely support from both technical and clinical ends. High detection sensitivity and low false alarm rates are paramount. Currently marketed devices are focused primarily on the recording of non–electroencephalography (EEG) signals associated with tonic-clonic seizures, whereas the detection of focal seizures without major motor features remains a clear evidence gap. Moreover, there is paucity of evidence coming from real-life settings.

A joint effort of clinical and nonclinical experts, patients, and caregivers is required to ensure an optimal level of acceptability and usability, which are key aspects for a successful continuous monitoring aimed at seizure detection at home.