AUTHORS: Mégevand P, Spinelli L, Genetti M, Brodbeck V, Momjian S, Schaller K, Michel CM, Vulliemoz S, Seeck M.

Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, 85(1): 38-43, January 2014



It remains controversial whether interictal spikes are a surrogate of the seizure onset zone (SOZ). Electric source imaging (ESI) is an increasingly validated non-invasive approach for localising the epileptogenic focus in patients with drug-resistant epilepsy undergoing evaluation for surgery, using high-density scalp EEG and advanced source localisation algorithms that include the patient’s own MRI. Here we investigate whether localisation of interictal spikes by ESI provides valuable information on the SOZ.


In 38 patients with focal epilepsy who later underwent intracranial EEG monitoring, we performed ESI of interictal spikes recorded with 128-256-channel EEG. We measured the distance between the ESI maximum and the nearest intracranial electrodes in the SOZ and irritative zone (IZ, the source of interictal spikes). The resection of the region harbouring the ESI maximum was correlated to surgical outcome.


The median distance from the ESI maximum to the nearest electrode involved in the SOZ was 17 mm (IQR 8-27). The IZ and SOZ colocalised in most patients (median distance 0 mm, IQR 0-14), supporting the notion that localising interictal spikes is a valid surrogate for the SOZ. There was no difference in accuracy among patients with temporal or extratemporal epilepsy. In the 32 patients who underwent resective surgery, including the ESI maximum in the resection correlated with favourable outcome (p=0.03).


Localisation of interictal spikes provides an excellent estimate of the SOZ in the majority of patients. ESI should be taken into account for the management of patients undergoing intracranial recordings.

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