Purpose: To determine the ability of fully automated volumetric magnetic resonance (MR) imaging to depict hippocampal atrophy (HA) and to help correctly lateralize the seizure focus in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE).
Materials and methods: This study was conducted with institutional review board approval and in compliance with HIPAA regulations. Volumetric MR imaging data were analyzed for 34 patients with TLE and 116 control subjects. Structural volumes were calculated by using U.S. Food and Drug Administration-cleared software for automated quantitative MR imaging analysis (NeuroQuant). Results of quantitative MR imaging were compared with visual detection of atrophy, and, when available, with histologic specimens. Receiver operating characteristic analyses were performed to determine the optimal sensitivity and specificity of quantitative MR imaging for detecting HA and asymmetry. A linear classifier with cross validation was used to estimate the ability of quantitative MR imaging to help lateralize the seizure focus.
Results: Quantitative MR imaging-derived hippocampal asymmetries discriminated patients with TLE from control subjects with high sensitivity (86.7%-89.5%) and specificity (92.2%-94.1%). When a linear classifier was used to discriminate left versus right TLE, hippocampal asymmetry achieved 94% classification accuracy. Volumetric asymmetries of other subcortical structures did not improve classification. Compared with invasive video electroencephalographic recordings, lateralization accuracy was 88% with quantitative MR imaging and 85% with visual inspection of volumetric MR imaging studies but only 76% with visual inspection of clinical MR imaging studies.
Conclusion: Quantitative MR imaging can depict the presence and laterality of HA in TLE with accuracy rates that may exceed those achieved with visual inspection of clinical MR imaging studies. Thus, quantitative MR imaging may enhance standard visual analysis, providing a useful and viable means for translating volumetric analysis into clinical practice.