Rationale: Presurgical localization of the epileptogenic focus is critical to successful surgery. Traditionally, localization of the epileptogenic focus depends on seizure semiology, scalp video-electroencephalography (vEEG), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), neuropsychological assessment, and, when needed, intracranial EEG (iEEG). We aimed to explore the role of positron emission tomography (PET) in the presurgical evaluation of patients with refractory epilepsy.
Methods: A retrospective review was conducted on patients from London Health Sciences Centre (London, Ontario) with refractory epilepsy who underwent PET from September of 2011 to April of 2016. The accuracy of epileptogenic focus localization was compared between different investigative modalities (MRI, vEEG, iEEG, PET), and the outcomes were documented, including seizure freedom after surgical resection, improvement of seizure frequency, guidance for further investigations, and exclusion of patients from further evaluation. Patients who underwent surgery were followed up at 3 months and onward.
Results: We identified 62 patients with refractory epilepsy who underwent PET. The mean age was 34 years (range=20-68). A total of 36 had concordant PET and vEEG findings: 6 had surgical resection and either became seizure-free (29.4%) or had improvement in seizure frequency (5.9%) at 3 months; 11 had surgical resection and either became seizure-free (29.4%) or had improvement in seizure frequency (35.3%) at 3 months, but required iEEG for final verification.
Conclusions: PET has an important role in presurgical evaluation of patients with refractory epilepsy. It may allow resection of the epileptogenic focus without the need for iEEG, guiding intracranial electrode placement for further localization of the epileptogenic focus, or exclusion of patients from further evaluation.