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March 1996

Unilateral Focal Preponderance of Interictal Epileptiform Discharges as a Predictor of Seizure Origin

Arch Neurol. 1996;53(3):228-232. doi:10.1001/archneur.1996.00550030034020

Objective:  To test the hypothesis that seizure origin may be predicted from scalp-recorded electroencephalographic interictal epileptiform patterns that occur exclusively or preponderantly over a single focal region.

Patients and Methods:  Fifty-nine of 98 patients (≥16 years old) with intractable epilepsy who underwent sphenoidal/scalp electroencephalographic video monitoring were identified as having interictal epileptiform discharges preponderantly (≥75% of all discharges) or exclusively over a single unilateral region (basal-temporal, midposterior temporal, frontopolar, superior frontal, central). Ictal recordings in 48 patients could be interpreted as demonstrating focal origins, and the ictal findings were compared with the interictal findings. Eleven patients had uninterpretable ictal recordings or no seizures during monitoring and were not further considered.

Results:  All seizures arose from the expected region in 39 of the 48 patients (Fisher's exact test, P<.001). Interictal discharges occurred exclusively over a single region in 23 of the 48 patients, and all seizures arose from the expected region in 22 of the 23 patients (P<.001). Seventeen patients among this group of 23 had exclusively unilateral basal-temporal discharges, and all seizures arose from the expected side, with the exception of one seizure that arose from the opposite side in one patient, with her other seizure arising from the expected side (P<.001). All seizures arose from the expected region in three patients who exhibited all interictal discharges arising from a single superior frontal region, in two patients with discharges only over a single midposterior temporal region, and in one patient with exclusively unilateral frontopolar discharges.

Conclusions:  Interictal discharges that demonstrate a consistent unilateral focal preponderance over a single region, regardless of location, generally predict seizure origin. If the discharges are exclusive to a single region, there is a greater than 95% probability that all recorded seizures will originate from the expected region.