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Carlo Efisio Marras, Michele Rizzi, Flavio Villani, Giuseppe Messina, Francesco Deleo, Roberto Cordella and Angelo Franzini

Hypothalamic hamartomas (HHs) are developmental malformations associated with a range of neurological problems, including intractable seizures. There is increasing evidence of the epileptogenicity of the hamartoma and of the inhomogeneous distribution of the epileptic abnormalities within the malformation. The management strategy for treatment and results differ according to the insertion plane and the extension of the malformation into the hypothalamus. Cases characterized by extensive involvement of the hypothalamus are particularly challenging.

The authors describe the case of a patient with drug-resistant epilepsy and a large hypothalamic hamartoma with an extensive area of attachment. The patient underwent implantation of 2 deep brain electrodes. The intraoperative recording showed a synchronous interictal epileptic discharge in the left temporal lobe and on the left side of the lesion. The patient was treated with chronic high-frequency stimulation. No side effects due to the stimulation were reported. At 18 months' follow-up, a reduction in complex partial seizure frequency was reported, but no significant reduction in overall seizure frequency was noticed (p = 0.14, t-test).

The authors report on neurophysiological studies of the relationship between HH and epilepsy, and also discuss the literature on chronic high-frequency stimulation, including its rationale and the results of chronic stimulation of various targets for the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy due to HH.