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Relative contribution of individual versus combined functional imaging studies in predicting seizure freedom in pediatric epilepsy surgery: an area under the curve analysis

Pongkiat Kankirawatana, Ismail S. Mohamed, Jason Lauer, Inmaculada Aban, Hyunmi Kim, Rong Li, Allan Harrison, AS, Monisha Goyal, Curtis J. Rozzelle, Robert Knowlton, and Jeffrey P. Blount


The goal of this study was to evaluate the predictive value and relative contribution of noninvasive presurgical functional imaging modalities based on the authors’ institutional experience in pursuing seizure-free surgical outcomes in children with medically refractory epilepsy.


This was a retrospective, single-institution, observational cohort study of pediatric patients who underwent evaluation and surgical treatment for medically refractory partial epilepsy between December 2003 and June 2016. During this interval, 108 children with medically refractory partial epilepsy underwent evaluation for localization and resective epilepsy surgery. Different noninvasive functional imaging modalities, including ictal SPECT, FDG-PET, and magnetoencephalography–magnetic source imaging, were utilized to augment a standardized paradigm (electroencephalography/semiology, MRI, and neuropsychology findings) for localization. Outcomes were evaluated at a minimum of 2 years (mean 7.5 years) utilizing area under the receiver operating characteristic curve analysis. Localizing modalities and other clinical covariates were examined in relation to long-term surgical outcomes.


There was variation in the contribution of each test, and no single presurgical workup modality could singularly and reliably predict a seizure-free outcome. However, concordance of presurgical modalities yielded a high predictive value. No difference in long-term outcomes between inconclusive (normal or diffusely abnormal) and abnormal focal MRI results were found. Long-term survival analyses revealed a statistically significant association between seizure freedom and patients with focal ictal EEG, early surgical intervention, and no history of generalized convulsions.


Comprehensive preoperative evaluation utilizing multiple noninvasive functional imaging modalities is not redundant and can improve pediatric epilepsy surgical outcomes.