News

News
Thursday, May 31, 2012 - Winchester Epilepsy Program Earns Top Designation
Collaborative Medical & Surgical Program One of Few Level 4 Centers in State 

The Virginia Comprehensive Epilepsy Program in Winchester has been designated a Level 4 Epilepsy Center by the National Association of Epilepsy Centers (NAEC). Winchester’s program is one of only three Level 4 epilepsy centers in Virginia and one of only two non-academic Level 4 centers in the U.S. The Virginia Comprehensive Epilepsy Program is a collaboration of Winchester Medical Center and two Winchester physician practices, Winchester Neurological Consultants, Inc., and Virginia Brain and Spine Center, Inc. 

Centers meeting the NAEC’s Level 4 criteria have the expertise, facilities and equipment to provide the highest level of medical and surgical evaluation and treatment for patients with complex epilepsy. Neurologist and epileptologist Paul Lyons, MD, PhD, and neurosurgeon Lee Selznick, MD, have worked closely together and with key hospital departments to build a comprehensive epilepsy program that would meet or exceed the quality and outcomes of academic medical center programs. 

“Epilepsy can be very disabling, physically, psychologically and socially,” said Dr. Lyons. “It’s an honor to be able to help patients and their families get a definitive diagnosis and treatment options so they can improve their quality of life. We want our region to be aware of the comprehensive program we offer to those diagnosed with epilepsy.” 

As a Level 4 epilepsy center, the Virginia Comprehensive Epilepsy Program provides intensive neurodiagnostic monitoring and medical, neuropsychological, and psychosocial assessment. Patients have access to a complete range of services from evaluation for epilepsy and non-invasive studies to intracranial evaluations and complex epilepsy surgery procedures. To date, Drs. Lyons and Selznick have surgically treated 16 patients; 15 are seizure free. 

“Most people aren’t aware that epilepsy affects almost three million Americans and 50 million people worldwide,” said Dr. Selznick. “Most programs can only take a patient so far. When the pathology requires more complex solutions, the patient has to be referred to a center with Level 4 capabilities. We are fortunate that our program here in Winchester can accommodate the full spectrum of needs for a person with epilepsy.” 

Epilepsy is the third most common neurological disorder in the U.S., after Alzheimer’s disease and stroke. It is more prevalent than cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease combined, affecting the very young to the very old. Despite major advances in diagnosis and treatment, epilepsy is among the least understood of major chronic medical conditions. (source: www.epilepsyfoundation.org/aboutepilepsy) Although it can often be managed successfully with medications and other treatments, more than a million people continue to have seizures that can dramatically impact everyday living. 

“It is a privilege to be a part of this collaboration and be able to offer patients in our region such an extraordinary full-service epilepsy program,” said Tonya Smith, Vice President of Operations at Winchester Medical Center, whose responsibilities include the Neuroscience Center. 
 
For more information: 
 
Virginia Comprehensive Epilepsy Program: www.valleyhealthlink.com/neuro 


National Association of Epilepsy Centers: www.naec-epilepsy.org 

The NAEC’s Guidelines for Essential Services, Personnel and Facilities in Specialized Epilepsy Centers in the United States, provides patients and healthcare providers guidelines for evaluating appropriateness and quality of specialized epilepsy care.