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Attila Rácz, Kathryn Menne, Valeri Borger, Kevin G. Hampel, Hartmut Vatter, Christoph Helmstaedter, Christian E. Elger, and Rainer Surges

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this study was to compare complications, seizures, and neuropsychological outcomes after resective epilepsy surgery in patients ≥ 60 years of age who underwent operations to younger and matched controls.

METHODS

Charts of 2243 patients were screened for operated patients in the authors’ center between 2000 and 2015. Patients with available postsurgical follow-up data who were operated on at the age of 60 years or older and matched (by gender, histopathology, and side of surgery) controls who were between 20 and 40 years of age at the time of surgery were included. Outcomes regarding postoperative seizure control were scored according to the Engel classification and group comparisons were performed by using chi-square statistics.

RESULTS

Data of 20 older patients were compared to those of 60 younger controls. Postoperative seizure control was favorable in the majority of the elderly patients (Engel classes I and II: 75% at 12 months, 65% at last follow-up), but the proportion of patients with favorable outcome tended to be larger in the control group (Engel classes I and II: 90% at 12 months, p = 0.092; 87% at last follow-up, p = 0.032, chi-square test). The surgical complication rate was higher in the elderly population (65% vs 27%, p = 0.002), but relevant persistent deficits occurred in 2 patients of each group only. Neuropsychological and behavioral assessments displayed considerable preoperative impairment and additional postoperative worsening, particularly of verbal skills, memory (p < 0.05), and mood in the elderly.

CONCLUSIONS

The overall favorable postsurgical outcome regarding seizure control and the moderate risk of disabling persistent neurological deficits in elderly patients supports the view that advanced age should not be a barrier per se for resective epilepsy surgery and underscores the importance of an adequate presurgical evaluation and of referral of elderly patients to presurgical assessment.

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Josef Zentner, Helmut K. Wolf, Christof Helmstaedter, Thomas Grunwald, Ales F. Aliashkevich, Otmar D. Wiestler, Christian E. Elger, and Johannes Schramm

Object. The goal of this study was to define the incidence and clinical significance of amygdala sclerosis (AS) in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE).

Methods. Surgical specimens of the lateral amygdaloid nucleus and the hippocampus excised from 71 patients who were treated for medically intractable TLE were quantitatively evaluated using a computer-assisted image-analysis system and compared with 10 normal autopsy specimens. Densities of neurons and reactive astrocytes in the patients with TLE were correlated with clinical, neuropsychological, and depth-electroencephalography data. The neuron counts of the lateral amygdaloid nucleus did not correlate with various presumed etiological factors of TLE including hereditary seizures, birth complications, febrile convulsions, traumatic brain injury, infections, seizure semiology, and epileptological outcome. However, patient age at surgery was significantly higher (mean difference 10 years) when AS was present, as compared with patients without AS (p < 0.01). Seizure origin, as determined by using amygdalohippocampal depth electrodes, did not correlate with the presence or absence of AS. Neuropsychologically, there was a significant correlation between the neuronal densities of the lateral amygdaloid nucleus and both preoperative visual recognition and postoperative deterioration of short-term verbal memory performance (p < 0.05).

Conclusions. Except for the relatively long history of epilepsy, the presence of AS is not associated with specific clinical or electrocorticographic features of mesial TLE. However, patients without AS are particularly at risk for deterioration of short-term verbal memory following amygdalohippocampectomy.

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Hans Clusmann, Johannes Schramm, Thomas Kral, Christoph Helmstaedter, Burkhard Ostertun, Rolf Fimmers, Dorothee Haun, and Christian E. Elger

Object. It is unknown whether different resection strategies for temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) produce alterations in seizure control or neuropsychological performance.

Methods. A series of 321 patients who underwent surgery for TLE between 1989 and 1997 was submitted to a uniand multifactorial analysis of clinical, electrophysiological, neuroimaging, neuropsychological, and surgical factors to determine independent predictors of outcome. Until 1993, most patients with TLE underwent standard anterior temporal lobectomy (ATL); beginning in 1993, surgical procedures were increasingly restricted to lesions detected on magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and the presumed epileptogenic foci: for example, amygdalohippocampectomy (AH) or lesionectomy/corticectomy began to be used more often.

The mean follow-up duration in this study was 38 months. Two hundred twenty-seven patients were classified as seizure free (70.7%), and 36 patients had rare and nondisabling seizures (11.2%); these groups were summarized as having good seizure control (81.9%). Twenty-four patients attained more than 75% improvement (7.5%), and no worthwhile improvement was seen in 34 cases (10.6%); these groups were summarized as having unsatisfactory seizure control (18.1%).

On unifactorial analysis the following preoperative factors were associated with good seizure control (p < 0.05): single and concordant lateralizing focus on electroencephalography studies, low seizure frequency, absence of status epilepticus, concordant lateralizing memory deficit, clear abnormality on MR images, suspected ganglioglioma or dysembryoplastic neuroepithelial tumor (DNT), and absence of dysplasia on MR images. Stepwise logistic regression revealed a model containing five factors that were predictive for good seizure control (p < 0.1): 1) clear abnormality on MR images; 2) absence of status epilepticus; 3) MR imaging—confirmed ganglioglioma or DNT; 4) concordant lateralizing memory deficit; and 5) absence of dysplasia on MR images. Seizure outcome was mainly correlated with diagnosis and clinical factors. No significant differences were found regarding different resection types performed for comparable tumors. Neuropsychological testing revealed better postoperative results after limited resections compared with standard ATL, especially with regard to attention level, verbal memory, and calculated total neuropsychological performance.

Conclusions. Different strategies for surgical approaches in TLE result in equally good outcomes. Seizure outcome is mainly dependent on the diagnosis and clinical factors, whereas the neuropsychological results are more beneficial after resections limited to an epileptogenic lesion and focus.

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Valeri Borger, Motaz Hamed, Julia Taube, Gülsah Aydin, Inja Ilic, Matthias Schneider, Patrick Schuss, Erdem Güresir, Albert Becker, Christoph Helmstaedter, Christian E. Elger, and Hartmut Vatter

OBJECTIVE

Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is one of the most common forms of epilepsy. In approximately 30% of patients, seizures are refractory to drug treatment. Despite the achievements of modern presurgical evaluation in recent years, the presurgical prediction of seizure outcome remains difficult. The aim of this study was to evaluate the seizure outcome in patients with drug-refractory TLE who underwent resective temporal lobe surgery (rTLS) and to determine features associated with unfavorable postsurgical seizure outcome.

METHODS

Patients with medically refractory TLE who underwent rTLS between 2012 and 2017 were reviewed from the prospectively collected epilepsy surgery database. A retrospective analysis of clinical, radiological, neuropsychological, histopathological, and perioperative findings of 161 patients was performed. The patients were divided into two groups according to seizure outcome (group I, International League Against Epilepsy [ILAE] class 1; group II, ILAE class ≥ 2). For identification of independent risk factors for unfavorable postoperative seizure outcome (ILAE class ≥ 2), a multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed.

RESULTS

Seizure freedom (ILAE class 1) was achieved in 121 patients (75.2%). The neuropsychological evaluation demonstrated that losses in cognitive performance were more pronounced in verbal memory after resections in the left temporal lobe and in nonverbal memory after right-sided resections, whereas attention improved after surgery. Overall, postoperative visual field deficits (VFDs) were common and occurred in 51% of patients. There was no statistically significant difference in the incidence of VFD in patients with selective surgical procedures compared to the patients with nonselective procedures. The lack of MRI lesions and placement of depth electrodes were preoperatively identified as predictors for unfavorable seizure outcome.

CONCLUSIONS

rTLS is an effective treatment method in patients with refractory TLE. However, patients with a lack of MRI lesions and placement of depth electrodes prior to rTLS are at higher risk for an unfavorable postsurgical seizure outcome.

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Viola L. Vogt, Juri-Alexander Witt, Michael P. Malter, Jan-Christoph Schoene-Bake, Marec von Lehe, Christian E. Elger, and Christoph Helmstaedter

Object

The purpose of this study was to retrospectively assess the objective and subjective neuropsychological outcome after epilepsy surgery in patients with bilateral Ammon's horn sclerosis (AHS).

Methods

Memory and executive functions were evaluated at baseline and at follow-up in 11 surgically treated patients and compared with 8 pharmacologically treated patients with temporal lobe epilepsy and bilateral AHS. The median follow-up duration was 16 months in the surgically treated patients and 80.5 months in the pharmacologically treated group. Subjective outcome was evaluated by questionnaires and included mood, quality of life, subjective memory, and activities of daily living.

Results

At the follow-up assessment, 82% of the surgically treated patients as opposed to 0% of the nonsurgery patients were seizure free. In the surgical group, nonverbal memory performance did not change significantly in any patient after surgery, but there was a floor effect in 55% of the surgical patients. Regarding verbal memory, 9% of the surgical patients improved while 73% declined, despite severe impairments already evident at baseline. In the nonsurgery control group, 13% of the patients declined in nonverbal memory (floor effect in 63%) and 25% declined in verbal memory (floor effect in 25%) at follow-up. None of the controls improved at follow-up. Executive functions remained unchanged on an impaired level in both groups. At follow-up, the patient groups did not differ significantly with respect to mood, quality of life, subjective memory, or activities of daily living. However, in most aspects, surgically treated patients reported a slightly better subjective outcome than pharmacologically treated patients and a significantly improved quality of life.

Conclusions

These results suggest that beyond benefits concerning seizure control, surgically treated patients with bilateral AHS, despite already poor baseline performance, are still at risk for severe postoperative decline in memory. In the light of predominantly minor benefits on a subjective level, the findings put the overall outcome of epilepsy surgery in bilateral AHS patients into perspective.