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Dev Med Child Neurol. 2002 Oct;44(10):676-80.

Correlation of SPECT with pathology and seizure outcome in children undergoing epilepsy surgery.

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  • 1Neuroscience Unit, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust, UK.


SPECT can be used to image regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) and has been shown to help localize the seizure focus in partial epilepsies as part of the presurgical evaluation. Few studies have explored the possible relation between preoperative SPECT and underlying pathology, or any relation to postsurgical outcome. In this study preoperative ictal and interictal rCBF in relation to the histopathological diagnosis and outcome in a series of 35 children (24 females, 11 males; mean age 9.6 years, age range 11 months to 18 years) who had undergone resective surgery for epilepsy were retrospectively evaluated. A correlation between ictal hyperperfusion and the underlying responsible pathology was shown, with a consistent ictal increase in perfusion in developmental pathologies and Rasmussen's encephalitis, and consistent interictal hypoperfusion in hippocampal sclerosis (HS). No rCBF study parameter appeared to relate to outcome but in the group with HS the best outcome was seen in those with localizing ictal rCBF. The varied group of pathologies from hemispherectomy had excellent outcome but the SPECT findings had little to contribute over the abnormalities detected on MRI. In conclusion, rCBF studies remain a useful presurgical investigation in children with partial epilepsy, especially where HS, cortical dysplasia, or inflammatory disease are the underlying pathology. However, rCBF studies add little to the investigation of children with seizures secondary to benign tumours or cerebral infarcts, or where hemispherectomy is the likely preferred surgical option.

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