Intraoperative fast ripples independently predict postsurgical epilepsy outcome: Comparison with other electrocorticographic phenomena

Shaun A. Hussain*, Gary W. Mathern, Phoebe Hung, Julius Weng, Raman Sankar, Joyce Y. Wu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


In the surgical management of epilepsy, the resection of cortex exhibiting interictal fast ripples (250–500 Hz) on electrocorticography has been linked to postoperative seizure-freedom. Although fast ripples appear to accurately identify the epileptogenic zone—the minimum tissue that must be removed at surgery to achieve seizure-freedom—it has not been established that fast ripples are a superior biomarker in comparison with multimodal presurgical neuroimaging and other electrocorticography abnormalities. Hence, in the prediction of postoperative seizure-freedom, we compared the value of fast ripples with other intraoperative electocorticography abnormalities including focal slowing, paroxysmal fast activity, intermittent spike discharges, continuous epileptiform discharges, focal attenuation, and intraoperative seizures, as well as complete resection of the lesion defined by MRI and other neuroimaging. In a cohort of 60 children with lesional epilepsy and median postsurgical follow-up exceeding 4 years, who underwent resective epilepsy surgery with intraoperative electrocorticography, we evaluated the extent to which removal of each intraoperative electrocorticography abnormality impacts time to first postoperative seizure using the Kaplan-Meier method and Cox proportional hazards regression. Secondly, we contrasted the predictive value of resection of each competing electrocorticography abnormality using standard test metrics (sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value). In contrast with all other intraoperative electrocorticography abnormalities, fast ripples demonstrated the most favorable combination of positive predictive value (100%) and negative predictive value (76%) in the prediction of postoperative seizures. Among all candidate electrocorticography features, time to first postoperative seizure was most strongly associated with incomplete resection of fast ripples (hazard ratio = 19.8, p < 0.001). In multivariate survival analyses, postoperative seizures were independently predicted by incomplete resection of cortex generating fast ripples (hazard ratio = 25.4, 95%CI 6.71–96.0, p < 0.001) and focal slowing (hazard ratio = 5.79, 95%CI 1.76–19.0, p = 0.004), even after adjustment for the impact of an otherwise complete resection. All children with incomplete resection of interictal FR-generating cortex exhibited postoperative seizures within six months. Notably, this cohort included many patients with large resections and thus limited opportunity to exhibit unresected fast ripples. Future study in a cohort with small resection volume, or a clinical trial in which resection margins are guided by fast ripple distribution, would likely yield a more precise estimate of the risk posed by unresected fast ripples. With a high detection rate during brief intraoperative electrocorticography and favorable positive and negative predictive value, interictal fast ripple characterization during surgery is a feasible and useful adjunct to standard methods for epilepsy surgery planning, and represents a valuable spatially-localizing biomarker of the epileptogenic zone, without the need for prolonged extraoperative electrocorticography.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-86
Number of pages8
JournalEpilepsy Research
StatePublished - Sep 2017


  • Biomarker
  • EEG
  • Epilepsy surgery
  • High frequency oscillation
  • Intraoperative electrocorticography
  • Seizure outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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