The Clinical Usefulness of Ictal Surface EEG in Neocortical Epilepsy


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Sang Kun Lee at Department of Neurology, Seoul National University Hospital, 28 Yonkeun dong, Chongno ku, Seoul 110–744, Korea. E-mail:


Summary: Purpose: Localizable scalp EEGs, during ictal episodes, appear to be rare in neocortical epileptic syndromes. However, studies based on large numbers of patients are also rare. This study aims to identify the characteristic patterns of variable neocortical epilepsies and to evaluate their clinical usefulness in the localization of epileptogenic focuses.

Methods: We retrospectively assessed 394 noninvasive ictal recordings from 86 patients who subsequently underwent invasive study and resective surgery. Ictal EEGs were recorded using a video-EEG monitoring system with electrodes placed according to the International 10–20 system, with additional anterior temporal electrodes. The ictal recordings were analyzed according to localizing accuracy and frequency characteristics. The durations of discrete or regional ictal rhythms were also measured.

Results: The percentage of discrete or regional EEGs was 23% in frontal lobe epilepsy, 52% in lateral temporal lobe epilepsy, 70% in occipital lobe epilepsy, and 10% in parietal lobe epilepsy. In order of frequency, the localizable ictal rhythms were theta, beta, alpha, delta, and rhythmic spike-and-wave. The duration of discrete or regional ictal rhythms was significantly shorter in frontal lobe epilepsy and parietal lobe epilepsy than in other epilepsies. Ictal beta activity was the most common rhythm in discrete-patterned EEGs. Structural lesions found on MRI did not significantly affect the localization of epileptogenic focuses in the patients. The type of seizure was not related to the degree of localization, with the exception of simple partial seizure.

Conclusions: Ictal surface EEG was clinically helpful in the localization of epileptogenic focuses in at least some neocortical epileptic syndromes.