Propagation of interictal epileptiform activity can lead to erroneous source localizations: a 128-channel EEG mapping study

J Clin Neurophysiol. Sep-Oct 2003;20(5):311-9. doi: 10.1097/00004691-200309000-00003.


The relationship between interictal epileptiform activity and the epileptogenic zone is complex. Despite the fact that intraspike propagation may occur, the peak of the spike is often used as indicator of the site of ictal onset. In this investigation, spatio-temporal segmentation was used to demonstrate this intraspike propagation and to determine at which time point the voltage pattern corresponded best to the epileptogenic zone. Sixteen patients with focal epilepsy were recorded with 125-channel EEG. Between one and five different map topographies were identified during the rising phase of the spike. A distributed source model (EPIFOCUS) was used to localize the source of each map, and the distance from the EPIFOCUS maximum to the anatomic lesion was calculated. In only 3 of 16 cases was the entire rising phase of the spike accounted for by one single map. In another five patients, several maps were obtained, although all were located within the epileptogenic lesion. In the remaining eight patients, however, parts of the rising phase had locations outside the epileptogenic lesion. On the average, 80% of the rising time had within lesion locations the most reliable time period being halfway between onset and peak. The results illustrate that intraspike propagation has to be considered in source localizations, and they also illustrate the usefulness of spatio-temporal segmentation for visualizing this propagation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diagnostic Errors*
  • Electrodes
  • Electroencephalography / instrumentation*
  • Epilepsies, Partial / diagnosis*
  • Epilepsies, Partial / physiopathology
  • Epilepsies, Partial / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Neurological
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted