Machine learning models for predicting seizure outcome after MR-guided laser interstitial thermal therapy in children

Omar Yossofzai, Scellig S.D. Stone, Joseph R. Madsen, Shelly Wang, John Ragheb, Ismail Mohamed, Robert J. Bollo, Dave Clarke, M. Scott Perry, Alexander G. Weil, Jeffrey S. Raskin, Jonathan Pindrik, Raheel Ahmed, Sandi K. Lam, Aria Fallah, Cassia Maniquis, Andrea Andrade, George M. Ibrahim, James Drake, James T. RutkaJignesh Tailor, Nicholas Mitsakakis, Elysa Widjaja*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE MR-guided laser interstitial thermal therapy (MRgLITT) is associated with lower seizure-free outcome but better safety profile compared to open surgery. However, the predictors of seizure freedom following MRgLITT remain uncertain. This study aimed to use machine learning to predict seizure-free outcome following MRgLITT and to identify important predictors of seizure freedom in children with drug-resistant epilepsy. METHODS This multicenter study included children treated with MRgLITT for drug-resistant epilepsy at 13 epilepsy centers. The authors used clinical data, diagnostic investigations, and ablation features to predict seizure-free outcome at 1 year post-MRgLITT. Patients from 12 centers formed the training cohort, and patients in the remaining center formed the testing cohort. Five machine learning algorithms were developed on the training data by using 10-fold cross-validation, and model performance was measured on the testing cohort. The models were developed and tested on the complete feature set. Subsequently, 3 feature selection methods were used to identify important predictors. The authors then assessed performance of the parsimonious models based on these important variables. RESULTS This study included 268 patients who underwent MRgLITT, of whom 44.4% had achieved seizure freedom at 1 year post-MRgLITT. A gradient-boosting machine algorithm using the complete feature set yielded the highest area under the curve (AUC) on the testing set (AUC 0.67 [95% CI 0.50–0.82], sensitivity 0.71 [95% CI 0.47–0.88], and specificity 0.66 [95% CI 0.50–0.81]). Logistic regression, random forest, support vector machine, and neural network yielded lower AUCs (0.58–0.63) compared to the gradient-boosting machine but the findings were not statistically significant (all p > 0.05). The 3 feature selection methods identified video-EEG concordance, lesion size, preoperative seizure frequency, and number of antiseizure medications as good prognostic features for predicting seizure freedom. The parsimonious models based on important features identified by univariate feature selection slightly improved model performance compared to the complete feature set. CONCLUSIONS Understanding the predictors of seizure freedom after MRgLITT will assist with prognostication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)739-749
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2023


  • KEYWORDS drug resistant epilepsy
  • laser interstitial thermal therapy
  • machine learning
  • pediatric epilepsy
  • seizure outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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