The First Seizure Clinic
The First Seizure Clinic provides a unique service for patients in our region for an urgent diagnosis of first seizures and new onset epilepsy. It has been the source of significant clinical research that has been published in international journals.
The Clinic is supervised by Dr David Vaughan, an epilepsy specialist working in the Comprehensive Epilepsy Program at Austin Health. The clinic was established in 1994 as part of a clinical research study headed by Dr Mark King, with Prof Sam Berkovic and Dr Mark Newton and was the first such clinic in the world.
The aim of the Clinic is to assess adolescent and adult patients who may have had an epileptic seizure for the first time or for whom a diagnosis of epilepsy is suspected. An urgent referral pathway has been established to avoid the usual delays in assessment and counseling for people in this situation where there is often a significant impact on their psychological and social health. The referrals are made from local practitioners and Emergency Department doctors from the North East area of Melbourne to our on-call registrars at the Austin Hospital. The registrars arrange an urgent EEG on behalf of the patient and the patient makes an appointment for the Clinic by telephone. We aim to see people within two weeks of the suspected seizure and at the consultation there are a number of investigations available, which facilitates diagnosis in most cases.
The Clinic comprises Dr David Vaughan, Dr Moksh Sethi and a team of young neurologists specialising in epilepsy. A clinical trials coordinator and clinical research assistant are also often present at the clinic.
Our current research interests include:
Pharmacogenetics (genetics of drug responsiveness and side effects)
MRI changes in new onset epilepsy
a longitudinal study into the psycho-social and cognitive impact on people with a diagnosis of epilepsy
Many of these studies are “international firsts” and will have important implications for services required by patients in the First Seizure Clinic. Currently, we are assessing the long term outcome of our large cohort of cases.