Objective: Mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE) constitutes a heterogenic entity with different clinical histories, pathomorphological hippocampal findings and varying postoperative outcome.
Method: 64 patients with MTLE, scheduled for hippocampal resection, were included. Initial precipitating injuries (IPI), structural and functional findings and neuropathological classification of hippocampal specimens were related to prediction of surgical outcome.
Results: Patients with severe hippocampal sclerosis (mesial temporal sclerosis (MTS) type 1b) became completely seizure free (80% Engel Ia) significantly more often compared with approximately 40% of seizure freedom in other types of MTS or in patients without hippocampal cell loss (non-MTS), irrespective of the extent of hippocampal resection. Age at IPI was found to be related to MTS variants (p<0.01) and significantly correlated with cell loss in the CA1 sector and the dentate gyrus (p<0.05). Presurgical MRI discriminated between MTS and non-MTS, but did not discriminate between different MTS subtypes. The most reliable predictors of MTS type 1b were the Wada memory scores combined with interictal and ictal EEG.
Conclusions: A particular cohort of MTLE patients benefit most from surgical treatment. These patients are clinically best recognised as presenting with (1) very early IPI; (2) a silent period of about 5 years; (3) unequivocal unilateral EEG localisation; (4) MRI signs of MTS; and (5) Wada Test indicates contralateral memory compensation and ipsilateral reduced memory capacity. MTS type 1b, characterised by severe cell loss in all hippocampal subfields including the dentate gyrus, and associated with optimal postoperative seizure control, was preoperatively clinically best differentiated from other MTS types by the Wada Memory Test.
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