Determining language laterality in patients with intractable epilepsy is important in operative planning. Wada testing is the gold standard, but it has a risk of stroke. Both Wada and task-based functional MRI (tb-fMRI) require patient cooperation. Recently, resting-state fMRI (rs-fMRI) has been explored for language lateralization. In the present study, the correlation between rs-fMRI and tb-fMRI in language lateralization is estimated in a pediatric population with intractable epilepsy.
rs-fMRI and tb-fMRI language lateralization testing performed as part of epilepsy surgery evaluation was retrospectively reviewed.
Twenty-nine patients underwent rs-fMRI and tb-fMRI; a total of 38 rs-fMRI studies and 30 tb-fMRI studies were obtained. tb-fMRI suggested left dominance in 25 of 30 cases (83%), right in 3 (10%), and in 2 (7%) the studies were nondiagnostic. In rs-fMRI, 26 of 38 studies (68%) suggested left dominance, 3 (8%) right dominance, 6 (16%) bilateral, and 3 (8%) were nondiagnostic. When tb-fMRI lateralized to the left hemisphere (25 cases), rs-fMRI was lateralized to the left in 23 patients (92%) and it was bilateral/equal in 2 (8%). When tb-fMRI lateralized to the right (3 cases), rs-fMRI lateralized to the right in all cases (100%). The overall concordance rate was 0.93 (95% CI 0.76–0.99) when considering cases with tb-fMRI and rs-fMRI performed within 6 months of each other, and tb-fMRI results were not nondiagnostic.
rs-fMRI significantly correlated with tb-fMRI in lateralizing language and suggests the potential role for identifying hemispheric dominance via rs-fMRI. Further investigation and validation studies are warranted.