Automating Interictal Spike Detection: Revisiting A Simple Threshold Rule

Annu Int Conf IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2018 Jul:2018:299-302. doi: 10.1109/EMBC.2018.8512244.


Interictal spikes (IIS) are bursts of neuronal depolarization observed electrographically between periods of seizure activity in epilepsy patients. However, IISs are difficult to characterize morphologically and their effects on neurophysiology and cognitive function are poorly understood. Currently, IIS detection requires laborious manual assessment and marking of electroencephalography (EEG/iEEG) data. This practice is also subjective as the clinician has to select the mental threshold that EEG activity must exceed in order to be considered a spike. The work presented here details the development and implementation of a simple automated IIS detection algorithm. This preliminary study utilized intracranial EEG recordings collected from 7 epilepsy patients, and IISs were marked by a single physician for a total of 1339 IISs across 68 active electrodes. The proposed algorithm implements a simple threshold rule that scans through iEEG data and identifies IISs using various normalization techniques that eliminate the need for a more complex detector. The efficacy of the algorithm was determined by evaluating the sensitivity and specificity of the detector across a range of thresholds, and an approximate optimal threshold was determined using these results. With an average true positive rate of over 98% and a false positive rate of below 2%, the accuracy of this algorithm speaks to its use as a reliable diagnostic tool to detect IISs, which has direct applications in localizing where seizures start, detecting when seizures start, and in understanding cognitive impairment due to IISs. Furthermore, due to its speed and simplicity, this algorithm can be used for real-time detection of IIS that will ultimately allow physicians to study their clinical implications with high temporal resolution and individual adaptation.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Epilepsy*
  • Humans
  • Seizures
  • Sensitivity and Specificity