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Research paper
Electric source imaging of interictal activity accurately localises the seizure onset zone
  1. Pierre Mégevand1,
  2. Laurent Spinelli1,2,
  3. Mélanie Genetti3,
  4. Verena Brodbeck2,4,
  5. Shahan Momjian5,
  6. Karl Schaller5,
  7. Christoph M Michel2,3,
  8. Serge Vulliemoz1,2,
  9. Margitta Seeck1,2
  1. 1EEG and Epilepsy Unit, Department of Neurology, Geneva University Hospitals, Geneva, Switzerland
  2. 2Department of Clinical Neuroscience, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
  3. 3Department of Fundamental Neuroscience, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland
  4. 4Department of Neurology, Brain Imaging Center, University of Frankfurt a.M., Frankfurt a.M., Germany
  5. 5Department of Neurosurgery, Geneva University Hospitals, Geneva, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Professor Margitta Seeck, EEG and Epilepsy Unit, Department of Neurology, Geneva University Hospitals, 4 Rue Gabrielle-Perret-Gentil, 1211 Geneva 14, Switzerland; Margitta.Seeck{at}


Objective 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.

Methods 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.

Results 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).

Conclusions 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.

  • Epilepsy
  • Surgery
  • EEG
  • Neurophysiology
  • Functional Imaging
  • Stereotaxic Surgery

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