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Alexander A. Aabedi, EunSeon Ahn, Sofia Kakaizada, Claudia Valdivia, Jacob S. Young, Heather Hervey-Jumper, Eric Zhang, Oren Sagher, Daniel H. Weissman, David Brang, and Shawn L. Hervey-Jumper

OBJECTIVE

Maximal safe tumor resection in language areas of the brain relies on a patient’s ability to perform intraoperative language tasks. Assessing the performance of these tasks during awake craniotomies allows the neurosurgeon to identify and preserve brain regions that are critical for language processing. However, receiving sedation and analgesia just prior to experiencing an awake craniotomy may reduce a patient’s wakefulness, leading to transient language and/or cognitive impairments that do not completely subside before language testing begins. At present, the degree to which wakefulness influences intraoperative language task performance is unclear. Therefore, the authors sought to determine whether any of 5 brief measures of wakefulness predicts such performance during awake craniotomies for glioma resection.

METHODS

The authors recruited 21 patients with dominant hemisphere low- and high-grade gliomas. Each patient performed baseline wakefulness measures in addition to picture-naming and text-reading language tasks 24 hours before undergoing an awake craniotomy. The patients performed these same tasks again in the operating room following the cessation of anesthesia medications. The authors then conducted statistical analyses to investigate potential relationships between wakefulness measures and language task performance.

RESULTS

Relative to baseline, performance on 3 of the 4 objective wakefulness measures (rapid counting, button pressing, and vigilance) declined in the operating room. Moreover, these declines appeared in the complete absence of self-reported changes in arousal. Performance on language tasks similarly declined in the intraoperative setting, with patients experiencing greater declines in picture naming than in text reading. Finally, performance declines on rapid counting and vigilance wakefulness tasks predicted performance declines on the picture-naming task.

CONCLUSIONS

Current subjective methods for assessing wakefulness during awake craniotomies may be insufficient. The administration of objective measures of wakefulness just prior to language task administration may help to ensure that patients are ready for testing. It may also allow neurosurgeons to identify patients who are at risk for poor intraoperative performance.

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Anthony T. Lee, Claire Faltermeier, Ramin A. Morshed, Jacob S. Young, Sofia Kakaizada, Claudia Valdivia, Anne M. Findlay, Phiroz E. Tarapore, Srikantan S. Nagarajan, Shawn L. Hervey-Jumper, and Mitchel S. Berger

OBJECTIVE

Gliomas are intrinsic brain tumors with the hallmark of diffuse white matter infiltration, resulting in short- and long-range network dysfunction. Preoperative magnetoencephalography (MEG) can assist in maximizing the extent of resection while minimizing morbidity. While MEG has been validated in motor mapping, its role in speech mapping remains less well studied. The authors assessed how the resection of intraoperative electrical stimulation (IES)–negative, high functional connectivity (HFC) network sites, as identified by MEG, impacts language performance.

METHODS

Resting-state, whole-brain MEG recordings were obtained from 26 patients who underwent perioperative language evaluation and glioma resection that was guided by awake language and IES mapping. The functional connectivity of an individual voxel was determined by the imaginary coherence between the index voxel and the rest of the brain, referenced to its contralesional pair. The percentage of resected HFC voxels was correlated with postoperative language outcomes in tasks of increasing complexity: text reading, 4-syllable repetition, picture naming, syntax (SYN), and auditory stimulus naming (AN).

RESULTS

Overall, 70% of patients (14/20) in whom any HFC tissue was resected developed an early postoperative language deficit (mean 2.3 days, range 1–8 days), compared to 33% of patients (2/6) in whom no HFC tissue was resected (p = 0.16). When bifurcated by the amount of HFC tissue that was resected, 100% of patients (3/3) with an HFC resection > 25% displayed deficits in AN, compared to 30% of patients (6/20) with an HFC resection < 25% (p = 0.04). Furthermore, there was a linear correlation between the severity of AN and SYN decline with percentage of HFC sites resected (p = 0.02 and p = 0.04, respectively). By 2.2 months postoperatively (range 1–6 months), the correlation between HFC resection and both AN and SYN decline had resolved (p = 0.94 and p = 1.00, respectively) in all patients (9/9) except two who experienced early postoperative tumor progression or stroke involving inferior frontooccipital fasciculus.

CONCLUSIONS

Imaginary coherence measures of functional connectivity using MEG are able to identify HFC network sites within and around low- and high-grade gliomas. Removal of IES-negative HFC sites results in early transient postoperative decline in AN and SYN, which resolved by 3 months in all patients without stroke or early tumor progression. Measures of functional connectivity may therefore be a useful means of counseling patients about postoperative risk and assist with preoperative surgical planning.