When localization of the epileptic focus is uncertain, the epileptic activity generator may be more accurately identified with non-invasive imaging techniques which could also serve to guide stereo-electroencephalography (sEEG) electrode implantation. The aim of this study was to assess the diagnostic value of perfusion magnetic resonance imaging with arterial spin labeling (ASL) in the identification of the epileptogenic zone, as compared to the more invasive positron-emission tomography (PET) and other established investigation methods for source imaging of electroencephalography (EEG) data. In 6 patients with drug-resistant focal epilepsy, standard video-EEG was performed to identify clinical seizure semeiology, and high-density EEG, ASL and FDG-PET to non-invasively localize the epileptic focus. A standardized source imaging procedure, low-resolution brain electromagnetic tomography constrained to the individual matter, was applied to the averaged spikes of high-density EEG. Quantification of current density, cerebral blood flow, and standardized uptake value were compared over the same anatomical areas. In most of the patients, source in the interictal phase was associated with an area of hypoperfusion and hypometabolism. Conversely, in the patients presenting with early post-ictal discharges, the brain area identified by electrical source imaging (ESI) as the generating zone appeared to be hyperperfused. In 2 patients in whom the focus remained uncertain, the postoperative follow-up showed the disappearance of epileptic activity. As an innovative and more comprehensive approach to the study of epilepsy, the combined use of ESI, perfusion MRI, and PET may play an increasingly important role in the non-invasive evaluation of patients with refractory focal epilepsy.
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