Pediatric Neurology

Pediatric Neurology

The Neurology Lab at East Tennessee Children's Hospital performs tests for patients with seizures, hearing problems and other issues with the brain. These patients can be referred to the neurology lab by their own doctors or while they are patients at Children's Hospital.


Most of the time, the Neurology Lab will do an electroencephalogram (EEG) to test the electrical impulses of your child's brain. The test takes about an hour and a half. Your child will need to sleep during the whole process. Our staff is well-trained to use natural methods to get your child to fall asleep. Sedation is used in some cases in which the child cannot fall asleep. The EEG is not painful. Electrodes will be attached to your child's head. You will be given a prep sheet and brochure before the day of the test.

A child's EEG results are very different than an adult's. All lab results are sent to pediatric neurologists at the hospital for review, then to your child's doctor. Staff members in the lab are specifically trained to complete these tests with children.

BAER Testing

The Neurology Lab also does brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) tests to measure your child's hearing. These tests can find out if your child has hearing loss or other problems affecting the brainstem. Children must be relaxed and as still as possible during the test. The entire test takes about an hour and a half.

VER Testing

A visual evoked response (VER) test measures the brain's reaction to what your child sees. Electrodes will be placed on your child's head to track his eyes' reaction to patterns, designs and flashing lights. Each eye will be tested separately. A VER test helps diagnose nerve or brain problems affecting vision.


The Neurology Lab completes tests to diagnose seizure disorders and epilepsy. Family history, EEGs, CT scans and MRIs are used by physicians to create a treatment plan for your child. No one knows exactly what causes seizures, but the following things can make a child more likely to have seizures:

  • Damage to the brain before, during or immediately following birth
  • Physical defects in the brain
  • Injury to the head
  • Poisoning, usually with lead or alcohol
  • Brain damage due to infections
  • Brain tumors
  • Lack of proper nutrition to the brain

Pediatric Stroke Protocol

Stroke in children is relatively uncommon compared to the adult population. Nevertheless, it is estimated a stroke occurs in one every 50,000 children each year. As a result, physicians at Children's Hospital see several potential stroke cases every year. Children's Hospital now has the capability to save the lives of these children because of a pediatric stroke protocol activated one year ago, which involves answering key questions to quickly determine if the patient suffered a stroke, and if so, what treatment is appropriate. The type of treatment used is based on the patient's symptoms and the amount of time elapsed since the onset of those symptoms.

Children's Hospital has created a pediatric stroke protocol that is being shared with other Children's hospitals nationwide. Thanks to the expertise of our neurology staff, more pediatric providers will have the capability to properly diagnose, treat and save the lives of pediatric stroke patients.

This protocol was created because pediatric strokes, while very serious, are quite treatable. Without prompt and proper treatment, up to 10 percent of pediatric stroke victims die and up to 80 percent experience long-term disabilities. While adult stroke protocols are standard, pediatric ones have been limited because of the rarity of the condition.

Pediatric Neurology Specialists

Learn about the Pediatric Neurology specialists who are part of East Tennessee Children's Hospital: