Doctors using AI-driven devices to help detect seizure activity in patients

AI-driven devices can help health care teams save time, costs and resources

Artificial intelligence is already revolutionizing industries, including the world of medicine. The medical community is increasingly moving in the direction of using AI to improve patient care and augment the role doctors play.

At Northwell Health, New York’s largest health care system, physicians are using AI to help detect pulmonary embolisms and pancreatic cancers, diagnose diseases and enhance colonoscopy screenings.

They’re also using it to better detect seizures through the use of an AI-powered headband made by Ceribell.

"This AI device allows us to be able to treat the patient in the moment and changes our ability to provide care," Dr. Richard Stumacher, chief medical officer and physician at Northwell’s Northern Westchester Hospital, told FOX Business.


Ceribell is an FDA-cleared medical device that features a head strap with 10 electrodes and AI to detect whether a patient is experiencing a seizure. It provides instantaneous bedside alerts when brain waves consistent with seizures are detected and connects with a pocket-sized electroencephalogram (EEG) recorder and web portal that tracks the results.

Ceribell AI technology health care

An employee demonstrates a Ceribell device that is used to help doctors detect seizure activity. (Ceribell Inc. / Fox News)

A traditional EEG test to detect such abnormalities of the brain can take four to 60 hours, whereas Ceribell takes six minutes. It’s recommended that EEGs be available to patients within 15 to 60 minutes, yet most hospitals cannot meet this requirement.

Doctors say that the speed of results is critical because silent seizures, where the seizure activity in the brain is not visible externally, can happen frequently in intensive care units.

"Finding a seizure and detecting it in somebody who may not look like they're seizing is pretty common in the ICU," Dr. Mangala Narasimhan, director of critical care services at Northwell Health, told FOX Business. "Being able to find those patients, treat those patients appropriately quickly is very important."


It helped a patient who went into the ICU at Northwell’s Northern Westchester Hospital last month.

The patient arrived with an altered mental status, known as "toxic metabolic encephalopathy," and unable to wake up. The medical team administered the Ceribell device to find that the patient had a very high seizure burden at that moment in time.

"We were able to intervene and see that our medication worked," Stumacher said. "The patient was able to wake up. Had I not had this AI-driven technology with me, I would very likely have had to put the patient on a breathing machine and then transfer them to a higher level of care."

The AI device saves time, costs and resources across the entire health care team. With its ability to assist with medication management and determine whether a treatment is working on a patient in real time, patients do not have to be moved around or transferred to another hospital. Maintaining care in one location not only frees up health care staff to assist more patients, but also keeps families closer to home.

The device can also be administered with just a little bit of training by anyone in the ICU.

Currently, Northwell Health is using Ceribell in tertiary care centers, and it is aiming to roll out the seizure-detecting tool at 23 hospitals across its nationwide network, particularly at locations that do not have EEG technology.


Experts say that AI will aid just about every medical office, but it won’t completely take away the need for doctors.

"This is not going to be replacing anyone," Stumacher said. "This is going to be allowing us to spend more time with our patients rather than going through what may be challenging. It augments the care that we're able to provide and fills in areas where we may have limited resources to people or opportunities."

Furthermore, Stumacher said AI will allow providers who are already overworked and overtaxed to be able to give better patient care.

While AI has become integrated at an accelerated pace since the beginning of the year at Northwell, it’s just the beginning.

Narasimhan said that Northwell is looking to use AI in a variety of other applications, such as monitoring patients remotely, which will allow staff to focus additional resources on those who need it most.


It is not without concerns, however.

"We're concerned about accuracy," Narasimhan said. "We're looking for products that have been tested that we know are safe, that we know are giving us answers that we're looking for quickly and safely. First and foremost is safety and accuracy for patient care."

Doctors say that as literature gets better, their work with these AI-driven devices will allow them to deliver more efficient and effective care.

"This gives us a really great opportunity not just for driving AI, but to be able to provide top-of-the-line, 24/7 care to patients, whether or not we have the human resources in that moment," Stumacher said.