Lekha M. Rao, MD
Accepting new patients

Lekha M. Rao, MD

  • Epilepsy Neurology|
  • Pediatric Neurology
Westwood Pediatrics | 200 Medical Plaza, Suite 265, Los Angeles, CA 90095


Dr. Lekha M. Rao is triple board certified in Neurology/Child Neurology, Clinical Neurophysiology, and Epilepsy. After obtaining her BA in Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University and MD at Drexel University, she completed pediatric residency, child neurology fellowship, and pediatric epilepsy fellowship at UCLA. She was the recipient of a 2011- 2013 Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Los Angeles Care and Cure Fellowship.  Dr. Rao is also sees pediatric epilepsy and neurology patients at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center.

Dr. Rao is a frequent invited lecturer on the topics of pediatric and neonatal seizures, epilepsy, and epilepsy surgery evaluation. She has presented and lectured both nationally and internationally, and published research in movement disorders, acute symptomatic seizures, and neonatal seizures with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.  She is a member of Child Neurology Society, the American Academy of Neurology, and the Newborn Brain Society, as well as a Fellow of the American Epilepsy Society.  She is also the director of the Pediatric Epilepsy Fellowship track at UCLA and the associate program director for the Child Neurology Residency at UCLA.

Dr. Rao is also a primary investigator on several clinical trials for pediatric and neonatal seizures and epilepsy.

Comprehensive care is a top priority for Dr. Rao, including communicating back with referring providers and working with patients and their families to improve their care. As a result, Dr. Rao has been named a Los Angeles Magazine Top Doctor and Los Angeles Times Super Doctor for several years.

Dr. Rao's clinical expertise includes:

  • neonatal seizures
  • hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy
  • intractable epilepsy and epilepsy surgery evaluation
  • new onset seizures
  • benign focal epilepsies of childhood
  • Landau-Kleffner syndrome (LKS), continuous spike-wave in sleep (CSWS), and other related epileptic encephalopathies associated with electrographic status epilepticus in slow wave sleep (ESES)
  • neuromodulation, including vagal nerve stimulation (VNS) and responsive neural stimulation (RNS)
  • epilepsy in autism
  • second opinion epilepsy consultation




Medical Board Certifications

Epilepsy, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, 2016
Clinical Neurophysiology, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, 2013
Neurology with Special Qualification in Child Neurology, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, 2011


Epilepsy, UCLA School of Medicine, 2012


Pediatric Neurology, UCLA School of Medicine, 2011
Pediatrics, UCLA School of Medicine, 2008


Pediatrics, UCLA School of Medicine, 2007


MD, Drexel University College of Medicine, 2006



Hospital Affiliations



  • Neonatal Seizures
  • Hypoxic-ischemic Encephalopathy
  • Acute Symptomatic Seizures
  • Neonatal Seizures
  • New Onset Seizures / Epileptogenesis
  • Epilepsy
  • Epilepsy Surgery
  • Electrographic status epilepticus in slow wave sleep (ESES)


  1. Yuliati A, Federman M, Rao LM, Chen L, Sim M, Matsumoto J. Prevalence of Seizures and Risk Factors for Mortality in a Continuous Cohort of Pediatric Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) Patients. Pediatric Crit Care Med 2020 Nov;21(11):949-958.
  2. Nariai H, Hussain SA, Bernardo D, Fallah A, Murata KK, Nguyen JC, Rajaraman RR, Rao LM, Matsumoto JH, Lerner JT, Salamon N, Elashoff D, Sankar R, Wu JY.  Prospective observational study: Fast ripple localization delineates the epileptogenic zone. Clin Neurophysiol. 2019 Nov;130(11):2144-2152.
  3. Rao LM, Hussain SA, Zaki T, Cho A, Chanlaw T, Garg M, Sankar R. A comparison of levetiracetam and phenobarbital for the treatment of neonatal seizures associated with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. Epilepsy Behav. 2018 Oct 5;88:212-217.
  4. Matsumoto JH, McArthur DL, Szeliga CW, Lerner JT, Rao LM, Hussain SA, Wu JY, Nuwer MR, Sankar R. Conductive Plastic Electrodes Reduce EEG Artifact During Pediatric ECMO Therapy. J Clin Neurophysiol. 2016 Oct;33(5):426-430.
  5. Jinnah HA, Egami K, Rao L, Shin M, Kasim S, Hess EJ. Expression of c-FOS in the brain after activation of L-type calcium channels. Developmental Neuroscience. 2003 Nov-Dec;25(6):403-11.
  6. Mikolaenko I, Rao LM, Roberts RC, Kolb B, Jinnah HA. A Golgi study of neuronal architecture in a genetic mouse model for Lesch-Nyhan disease. Neurobiology of Disease. 2005 May 19
  7. Shirley T, Rao LM, Hess EJ, Jinnah HA. Paroxysmal Dyskinesias in mice. Movement Disorders. 2008 Jan 30;23(2):259-64.

In the News

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  • Super Doctors® Southern California 2021 - 2024
  • Super Doctors® Southern California Rising Stars 2020
  • Super Doctors® Southern California Rising Stars 2019
  • 2018 Los Angeles Magazine Top Doctors
  • 2019 Super Doctors Rising Star Award