Localizing confined epileptic foci in patients with an unclear focus or presumed multifocality using a component-based EEG-fMRI method

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Cognitive Neurodynamics


Precise localization of epileptic foci is an unavoidable prerequisite in epilepsy surgery. Simultaneous EEG-fMRI recording has recently created new horizons to locate foci in patients with epilepsy and, in comparison with single-modality methods, has yielded more promising results although it is still subject to limitations such as lack of access to information between interictal events. This study assesses its potential added value in the presurgical evaluation of patients with complex source localization. Adult candidates considered ineligible for surgery on account of an unclear focus and/or presumed multifocality on the basis of EEG underwent EEG-fMRI. Adopting a component-based approach, this study attempts to identify the neural behavior of the epileptic generators and detect the components-of-interest which will later be used as input in the GLM model, substituting the classical linear regressor. Twenty-eight sets interictal epileptiform discharges (IED) from nine patients were analyzed. In eight patients, at least one BOLD response was significant, positive and topographically related to the IEDs. These patients were rejected for surgery because of an unclear focus in four, presumed multifocality in three, and a combination of the two conditions in two. Component-based EEG-fMRI improved localization in five out of six patients with unclear foci. In patients with presumed multifocality, component-based EEG-fMRI advocated one of the foci in five patients and confirmed multifocality in one of the patients. In seven patients, component-based EEG-fMRI opened new prospects for surgery and in two of these patients, intracranial EEG supported the EEG-fMRI results. In these complex cases, component-based EEG-fMRI either improved source localization or corroborated a negative decision regarding surgical candidacy. As supported by the statistical findings, the developed EEG-fMRI method leads to a more realistic estimation of localization compared to the conventional EEG-fMRI approach, making it a tool of high value in pre-surgical evaluation of patients with refractory epilepsy. To ensure proper implementation, we have included guidelines for the application of component-based EEG-fMRI in clinical practice.

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ePub ahead of print