• Intraoperative optical imaging;
  • Human;
  • Seizures;
  • Perfusion;
  • Oximetry


Purpose: Optical recording of intrinsic signals provides the highest combined spatial and temporal resolution with broad spatial sampling for measuring cerebral blood volume (CBV) and hemoglobin oxygenation in cerebral cortex. Few opportunities arise to apply this laboratory method to record spontaneous seizures in unanesthetized human brain during neurosurgery. We report such a rare opportunity in a man with recurrent focal epilepsy arising from a cavernous malformation.

Methods: We recorded intrinsic optical signals (IOS) from human cortex intraoperatively during spontaneous seizures arising from brain surrounding a small cavernous malformation in an awake patient using only local anesthesia with simultaneous electrocorticography. The IOS was recorded at two wavelengths, one an isosbestic point for hemoglobin to measure CBV (570 nm) and the other at a wavelength more sensitive to deoxygenated hemoglobin (Hbr) (610 nm). A modified Beer-Lambert calculation was used on two separate but similar seizures to approximate changes in Hbr, CBV as well as oxygenated hemoglobin (HbO2).

Results: Electrographically recorded seizures (n = 3) elicited a focal increase in both Hbr and CBV that lasted for the duration of the seizure, indicating that perfusion was inadequate to meet metabolic demand. Remarkably, these hemodynamic changes preceded the onset of the seizures by ∼20 s and occurred focally over the known location of the lesion and the seizure onsets.

Discussion: These findings demonstrate that the hemoglobin becomes deoxygenated in spite of large increase in CBV during spontaneous human focal seizures and that optically recorded hemodynamic events can be used both to predict and localize human focal epilepsy. Such data may someday be useful to assist in the presurgical evaluation of patients considered for epilepsy surgery and to predict the timing and location of seizure onsets.