Improving the prediction of epilepsy surgery outcomes using basic scalp EEG findings

Zachary Fitzgerald, Marcia Morita-Sherman, Olivia Hogue, Boney Joseph, Marina K.M. Alvim, Clarissa L. Yasuda, Deborah Vegh, Dileep Nair, Richard Burgess, William Bingaman, Imad Najm, Michael W. Kattan, Ingmar Blumcke, Gregory Worrell, Benjamin H. Brinkmann, Fernando Cendes, Lara Jehi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: This study aims to evaluate the role of scalp electroencephalography (EEG; ictal and interictal patterns) in predicting resective epilepsy surgery outcomes. We use the data to further develop a nomogram to predict seizure freedom. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the scalp EEG findings and clinical data of patients who underwent surgical resection at three epilepsy centers. Using both EEG and clinical variables categorized into 13 isolated candidate predictors and 6 interaction terms, we built a multivariable Cox proportional hazards model to predict seizure freedom 2 years after surgery. Harrell's step-down procedure was used to sequentially eliminate the least-informative variables from the model until the change in the concordance index (c-index) with variable removal was less than 0.01. We created a separate model using only clinical variables. Discrimination of the two models was compared to evaluate the role of scalp EEG in seizure-freedom prediction. Results: Four hundred seventy patient records were analyzed. Following internal validation, the full Clinical + EEG model achieved an optimism-corrected c-index of 0.65, whereas the c-index of the model without EEG data was 0.59. The presence of focal to bilateral tonic-clonic seizures (FBTCS), high preoperative seizure frequency, absence of hippocampal sclerosis, and presence of nonlocalizable seizures predicted worse outcome. The presence of FBTCS had the largest impact for predicting outcome. The analysis of the models’ interactions showed that in patients with unilateral interictal epileptiform discharges (IEDs), temporal lobe surgery cases had a better outcome. In cases with bilateral IEDs, abnormal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) predicted worse outcomes, and in cases without IEDs, patients with extratemporal epilepsy and abnormal MRI had better outcomes. Significance: This study highlights the value of scalp EEG, particularly the significance of IEDs, in predicting surgical outcome. The nomogram delivers an individualized prediction of postoperative outcome, and provides a unique assessment of the relationship between the outcome and preoperative findings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2439-2450
Number of pages12
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • epilepsy surgery
  • focal epilepsy
  • scalp EEG
  • surgery outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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