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Clin Neurophysiol. 2000 Oct;111(10):1802-8.

Interictal, unifocal spikes in refractory extratemporal epilepsy predict ictal origin and postsurgical outcome.

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Regional Epilepsy Center, University of Washington School of Medicine, WA, Seattle, USA.



To evaluate the significance of exclusively unifocal, unilateral, interictal epileptiform patterns on scalp electroencephalography (EEG) in surgical candidates with medically intractable extratemporal epilepsy.


We reviewed 126 patients with refractory extratemporal partial seizures who underwent epilepsy surgery at our center. All were followed for at least 2 years after resections. Surgery was based on ictal EEG recordings. We examined ictal onsets and surgical outcome in subjects whose preoperative, interictal scalp EEGs during long-term monitoring (LTM) demonstrated only unilateral, well-defined focal discharges, and outcome in patients whose interictal EEGs during LTM showed bilateral, non-localized, or multifocal epileptiform patterns.


We found that 26 subjects exhibited only unilateral, unifocal, interictal epileptiform patterns. In all 26 cases (100%) clinical seizures arose from the regions expected by the interictal findings (P<0.0001, Sign test). At last follow-up 77% (20/26) of these patients were seizure-free, while 23% (6/26) had >75% reduction in seizures. This compares to the remaining patients, of whom 34% (34/100) were seizure-free, 41% (41/100) had >75% reduction in seizures, and 25% (25/100) had <75% reduction in seizures (P=0.0001, Fisher's Exact test).


Strictly unifocal, interictal epileptiform patterns on scalp EEG, though seen in a minority of subjects, may be an important, independent factor in evaluating subjects with intractable extratemporal, localization-related epilepsy for surgical therapy. This finding is highly predictive of both ictal onsets and successful postsurgical outcome.

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