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Sandeep Mittal, Jean-Pierre Farmer, Bernard Rosenblatt, Frederick Andermann, José L. Montes, and Jean-Guy Villemure

✓ Residual seizures after functional hemispherectomy occur in approximately 20% of patients with catastrophic epilepsy. These episodes are traditionally attributed to incomplete disconnection, persistent epileptogenic activity in the ipsilateral insular cortex, or bilateral independent epileptogenic activity. The authors report on the case of an 8-year-old boy with an intractable seizure disorder who had classic frontal adversive seizures related to extensive unilateral left hemispheric cortical dysplasia. The initial intervention consisted of extensive removal of the epileptic frontal and precentral dysplastic tissue and multiple subpial transections of the dysplastic motor strip, guided by intraoperative electrocorticography. Subsequently, functional hemispherectomy including insular cortex resection was performed for persistent attacks. After a seizure-free period of 6 months, a new pattern ensued, consisting of an aura of fear, dystonic posturing of the right arm, and unusual postictal hyperphagia coupled with an interictal diencephalic-like syndrome. Electroencephalography and ictal/interictal single-photon emission computerized tomography were used to localize the residual epileptic discharges to deep ipsilateral structures. Results of magnetic resonance imaging indicated a complete disconnection except for a strip of residual frontobasal tissue. Therefore, a volumetric resection of the epileptogenic frontal basal tissue up to the anterior commissure was completed. The child has remained free of seizures during 21 months of follow-up review.

Standard hemispherectomy methods provide extensive disconnection, despite the presence of residual frontal basal cortex. However, rarely, and especially if it is dysplastic, this tissue can represent a focus for refractory seizures. This is an important consideration in determining the source of ongoing seizures posthemispherectomy in patients with extensive cortical dysplasia. It remains important to assess them fully before considering their disease refractory to surgical treatment.

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Sandeep Mittal, José L. Montes, Jean-Pierre Farmer, Bernard Rosenblatt, François Dubeau, Frederick Andermann, Nicole Poulin, and André Olivier

Object

Surgery is an accepted treatment for carefully selected patients with focal epilepsy. In the present study, the authors assessed clinical and surgery-related data obtained in a large series of children suffering from intractable temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE).

Methods

Etiological, pathological, and clinical features of possible prognostic significance were studied in 109 children who underwent surgery for TLE at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital and the Montreal Children's Hospital between 1985 and 2000.

The mean age of patients at seizure onset was 5.5 years and the duration of epilepsy ranged from 0.1 to 17.6 years. Preoperative magnetic resonance imaging revealed mesial sclerosis in 51 patients, a mass lesion in 45, and no visible abnormalities in 12. In six patients invasive monitoring was required. Cortical amygdalohippocampectomy was performed in 72% of patients, whereas 20% underwent transcortical selective amygdalohippocampectomy. In 23 patients a second surgical intervention was necessary. Low-grade tumors were found in 35% and mesial sclerosis was confirmed on pathological evaluation in 45%. Outcome was excellent (seizure free or > 90% reduction) in 94 patients (86%). The patients were followed prospectively for a median of 10.9 years (range 5–20.2 years). There were no permanent neurological complications and no deaths.

Conclusions

Successful postsurgical outcomes, especially in patients treated for mesial temporal lobe sclerosis and lesion-related epilepsies, can be obtained in pediatric patients suffering minimal complications. Unfavorable outcomes are most likely to occur when epileptiform discharges are bitemporal or multifocal in distribution and in cases involving incomplete resection of mesiotemporal structures.

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Solon Schur, Jeremy T. Moreau, Hui Ming Khoo, Andreas Koupparis, Elisabeth Simard Tremblay, Kenneth A. Myers, Bradley Osterman, Bernard Rosenblatt, Jean-Pierre Farmer, Christine Saint-Martin, Sophie Turpin, Jeff Hall, Andre Olivier, Andrea Bernasconi, Neda Bernasconi, Sylvain Baillet, Francois Dubeau, Jean Gotman, and Roy W. R. Dudley

OBJECTIVE

In an attempt to improve postsurgical seizure outcomes for poorly defined cases (PDCs) of pediatric focal epilepsy (i.e., those that are not visible or well defined on 3T MRI), the authors modified their presurgical evaluation strategy. Instead of relying on concordance between video-electroencephalography and 3T MRI and using functional imaging and intracranial recording in select cases, the authors systematically used a multimodal, 3-tiered investigation protocol that also involved new collaborations between their hospital, the Montreal Children’s Hospital, and the Montreal Neurological Institute. In this study, the authors examined how their new strategy has impacted postsurgical outcomes. They hypothesized that it would improve postsurgical seizure outcomes, with the added benefit of identifying a subset of tests contributing the most.

METHODS

Chart review was performed for children with PDCs who underwent resection following the new strategy (i.e., new protocol [NP]), and for the same number who underwent treatment previously (i.e., preprotocol [PP]); ≥ 1-year follow-up was required for inclusion. Well-defined, multifocal, and diffuse hemispheric cases were excluded. Preoperative demographics and clinical characteristics, resection volumes, and pathology, as well as seizure outcomes (Engel class Ia vs > Ia) at 1 year postsurgery and last follow-up were reviewed.

RESULTS

Twenty-two consecutive NP patients were compared with 22 PP patients. There was no difference between the two groups for resection volumes, pathology, or preoperative characteristics, except that the NP group underwent more presurgical evaluation tests (p < 0.001). At 1 year postsurgery, 20 of 22 NP patients and 10 of 22 PP patients were seizure free (OR 11.81, 95% CI 2.00–69.68; p = 0.006). Magnetoencephalography and PET/MRI were associated with improved postsurgical seizure outcomes, but both were highly correlated with the protocol group (i.e., independent test effects could not be demonstrated).

CONCLUSIONS

A new presurgical evaluation strategy for children with PDCs of focal epilepsy led to improved postsurgical seizure freedom. No individual presurgical evaluation test was independently associated with improved outcome, suggesting that it may be the combined systematic protocol and new interinstitutional collaborations that makes the difference rather than any individual test.