Radiological and Clinical Value of 7T MRI for Evaluating 3T-Visible Lesions in Pharmacoresistant Focal Epilepsies

Z. Irene Wang*, Se Hong Oh, Mark Lowe, Mykol Larvie, Paul Ruggieri, Virginia Hill, Volodymyr Statsevych, Doksu Moon, Jonathan Lee, Todd Emch, James Bena, Ingmar Blümcke, William Bingaman, Jorge A. Gonzalez-Martinez, Imad Najm, Stephen E. Jones

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Objective: The recent FDA approval of the first 7T MRI scanner for clinical diagnostic use in October 2017 will likely increase the utilization of 7T for epilepsy presurgical evaluation. This study aims at accessing the radiological and clinical value of 7T in patients with pharmacoresistant focal epilepsy and 3T-visible lesions. Methods: Patients with pharmacoresistant focal epilepsy were included if they had a lesion on pre-operative standard-of-care 3T MRI and also a 7T research MRI. An epilepsy protocol was used for the acquisition of the 7T MRI. Prospective visual analysis of 7T MRI was performed by an experienced board-certified neuroradiologist and communicated to the patient management team. The clinical significance of the additional 7T findings was assessed by intracranial EEG (ICEEG) ictal onset, surgical resection, post-operative seizure outcome and histopathology. A subset of lesions were demarked with arrows for subsequent, retrospective comparison between 3T and 7T by 7 neuroradiologists using a set of quantitative scales: lesion presence, conspicuity, boundary, gray-white tissue contrast, artifacts, and the most helpful sequence for diagnosis. Conger's kappa for multiple raters was performed for chance-adjusted agreement statistics. Results: A total of 47 patients were included, with the main pathology types of focal cortical dysplasia (FCD), hippocampal sclerosis, periventricular nodular heterotopia (PVNH), tumor and polymicrogyria (PMG). 7T detected additional smaller lesions in 19% (9/47) of patients, who had extensive abnormalities such as PMG and PVNH; however, these additional findings were not necessarily epileptogenic. 3T−7T comparison by the neuroradiologist team showed that lesion conspicuity and lesion boundary were significantly better at 7T (p < 0.001), particularly for FCD, PVNH and PMG. Chance-adjusted agreement was within the fair range for lesion presence, conspicuity and boundary. Gray-white contrast was significantly improved at 7T (p < 0.001). Significantly more artifacts were encountered at 7T (p < 0.001). Significance: For patients with 3T-visible lesions, 7T MRI may better elucidate the extent of multifocal abnormalities such as PVNH and PMG, providing potential targets to improve ICEEG implantation. Patients with FCD, PVNH and PMG would likely benefit the most from 7T due to improved lesion conspicuity and boundary. Pathologies in the antero–inferior temporal regions likely benefit less due to artifacts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number591586
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
StatePublished - Mar 2 2021


  • 7T
  • MRI
  • epilepsy
  • imaging
  • presurgical evaluation
  • seizures
  • ultra-high field

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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