Quality and safety in adult epilepsy monitoring units: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Khara M. Sauro, Natalie Wiebe, Sophie Macrodimitris, Samuel Wiebe, Sara Lukmanji, Nathalie Jetté

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Objective: The epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU) is a valuable resource for optimizing management of persons with epilepsy, but may place patients at risk for adverse events due to withdrawal of treatment and induction of symptoms. The purpose of this study was to synthesize data on the safety and quality of care in EMUs to inform the development of quality indicators for EMUs. Methods: A systematic review was conducted according to the Preferred Reporting and Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) statement. The search strategy, which included broad search terms and synonyms pertaining to the EMU, was run in six medical databases and included conference proceedings. Data abstracted included patient and EMU demographics and quality and safety variables. Study quality was evaluated using a modified 15-item Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) checklist. Descriptive statistics and meta-analyses were used to describe and synthesize the evidence. Results: The search yielded 7,601 references, of which 604 were reviewed in full text. One-hundred thirty-five studies were included. The quality and safety data came from 181,823 patients and reported on 34 different quality and safety variables. Included studies commonly reported the number of patients (108 studies; median number patients, 171.5), age (49 studies; mean age 35.7 years old), and the reason for admission (34 studies). The most common quality and safety data reported were the utility of the EMU admission (38 studies). Thirty-three studies (24.4%) reported on adverse events, and yielded a pooled proportion of adverse events of 7% (95% confidence interval [CI] 5–9%). The mean quality score was 73.3% (standard deviation [SD] 17.2). Significance: This study demonstrates that there is a great deal of variation in the reporting of quality and safety measures and in the quality and safety in EMUs. Study quality also varied considerably from one study to the next. These findings highlight the need to develop evidence-based, consensus-driven quality indicators for EMUs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1754-1770
Number of pages17
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Quality of care
  • Safety
  • Seizure monitoring unit
  • Video-EEG monitoring


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