Tracking Multisite Seizure Propagation Using Ictal High-Gamma Activity

J Clin Neurophysiol. 2022 Nov 1;39(7):592-601. doi: 10.1097/WNP.0000000000000833. Epub 2021 Feb 8.


Purpose: Spatial patterns of long-range seizure propagation in epileptic networks have not been well characterized. Here, we use ictal high-gamma activity (HGA) as a proxy of intense neuronal population firing to map the spatial evolution of seizure recruitment.

Methods: Ictal HGA (80-150 Hz) was analyzed in 13 patients with 72 seizures recorded by stereotactic depth electrodes, using previously validated methods. Distinct spatial clusters of channels with the ictal high-gamma signature were identified, and seizure hubs were defined as stereotypically recruited nonoverlapping clusters. Clusters correlated with asynchronous seizure terminations to provide supportive evidence for independent seizure activity at these sites. The spatial overlap between seizure hubs and interictal ripples was compared.

Results: Ictal HGA was detected in 71% of seizures and 10% of implanted contacts, enabling tracking of contiguous and noncontiguous seizure recruitment. Multiple seizure hubs were identified in 54% of cases, including 43% of patients thought preoperatively to have unifocal epilepsy. Noncontiguous recruitment was associated with asynchronous seizure termination (odds ratio = 19.7; p = 0.029). Interictal ripples demonstrated greater spatial overlap with ictal HGA in cases with single seizure hubs compared with those with multiple hubs (100% vs. 66% per patient; p = 0.03).

Conclusions: Ictal HGA may serve as a useful adjunctive biomarker to distinguish contiguous seizure spread from propagation to remote seizure sites. High-gamma sites were found to cluster in stereotyped seizure hubs rather than being broadly distributed. Multiple hubs were common even in cases that were considered unifocal.

MeSH terms

  • Electroencephalography* / methods
  • Epilepsy* / surgery
  • Humans
  • Neurons
  • Seizures / diagnosis
  • Seizures / surgery