Foramen ovale electrodes (FOEs) are a minimally invasive method to localize mesial temporal seizures in cases in which noninvasive methods are inconclusive. The objective of this study was to identify factors predicting the ability of FOEs to yield a diagnosis in order to determine optimal candidates for this procedure.
All cases of diagnostic investigations performed with FOEs at the authors’ institution between 2005 and 2017 were reviewed. FOE investigation was defined as diagnostic if it led to a treatment decision. Demographic and clinical variables for diagnostic and nondiagnostic investigations were compared using a Wilcoxon rank-sum test for continuous variables and Fisher’s exact test for categorical variables.
Ninety-three patients underwent investigations performed with FOEs during the study period and were included in the study. FOE investigation was diagnostic in 75.3% of cases. Of patients who underwent anterior temporal lobectomy following diagnostic FOE evaluation, 75.9% were Engel class I at last follow-up (average 40.1 months). When the diagnostic and nondiagnostic FOE groups were compared, patients who had diagnostic investigations were more likely to be male (57.1% male vs 26.1% in the nondiagnostic group, p = 0.015). They were also more likely to have temporal lesions on preoperative MRI (p = 0.018).
FOEs are a useful, minimally invasive diagnostic modality resulting in a treatment decision in 75% of cases. Male patients and patients with temporal lesions on MRI may be most likely to benefit from FOE investigation.