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Jack Lam, Patricia Tomaszewski, Guillaume Gilbert, Jeremy T. Moreau, Marie-Christine Guiot, Steffen Albrecht, Jean-Pierre Farmer, Jeffrey Atkinson, Christine Saint-Martin, Pia Wintermark, Boris Bernhardt, Sylvain Baillet, and Roy W. R. Dudley

OBJECTIVE

The authors sought to assess the utility of arterial spin labeling (ASL) perfusion 3T-MRI for the presurgical evaluation of poorly defined focal epilepsy in pediatric patients.

METHODS

Pseudocontinuous ASL perfusion 3T-MRI was performed in 25 consecutive children with poorly defined focal epilepsy. ASL perfusion abnormalities were detected qualitatively by visual inspection and quantitatively by calculating asymmetry index (AI) maps and significant z-score cluster maps based on successfully operated cases. ASL results were prospectively compared to scalp EEG, structural 3T-MRI, FDG-PET, ictal/interictal SPECT, magnetoencephalography (MEG), and intracranial recording results, as well as the final surgically proven epileptogenic zone (EZ) in operated patients who had at least 1 year of good (Engel class I/II) seizure outcome and positive histopathology results.

RESULTS

Qualitative ASL perfusion abnormalities were found in 17/25 cases (68%), specifically in 17/20 MRI-positive cases (85.0%) and in none of the 5 MRI-negative cases. ASL was concordant with localizing scalp EEG findings in 66.7%, structural 3T-MRI in 90%, FDG-PET in 75%, ictal/interictal SPECT in 62.5%, and MEG in 75% of cases, and with intracranial recording results in 40% of cases. Eleven patients underwent surgery; in all 11 cases the EZ was surgically proven by positive histopathology results and the patient having at least 1 year of good seizure outcome. ASL results were concordant with this final surgically proven EZ in 10/11 cases (sensitivity 91%, specificity 50%). All 10 ASL-positive patients who underwent surgery had positive surgical pathology results and good long-term postsurgical seizure outcome at a mean follow-up of 39 months. Retrospective quantitative analysis based on significant z-score clusters found 1 true-positive result that was missed by qualitative analysis and 3 additional false-positive results (sensitivity 100%, specificity 23%).

CONCLUSIONS

ASL supports the hypothesis regarding the EZ in poorly defined focal epilepsy cases in children. Due to its convenience and noninvasive nature, the authors recommend that ASL be added routinely to the presurgical MRI evaluation of epilepsy. Future optimized quantitative methods may improve the diagnostic yield of this technique.

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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.