Diffusion tractography predicts propagated high‐frequency activity during epileptic spasms



Determine the structural networks that constrain propagation of ictal oscillations during epileptic spasm events, and compare observed propagation patterns across patients with successful or unsuccessful surgical outcomes.


Subdural electrode recordings of 18 young patients (age 1–11 years) were analyzed during epileptic spasm events to determine ictal networks and quantify the amplitude and onset time of ictal oscillations across the cortical surface. Corresponding structural networks were generated with diffusion MRI tractography by seeding the cortical region associated with the earliest average oscillation onset time, and white matter pathways connecting active electrode regions within the ictal network were isolated. Properties of this structural network were used to predict oscillation onset times and amplitudes, and this relationship was compared across patients who did and did not achieve seizure freedom following resective surgery.


Onset propagation patterns were relatively consistent across each patients’ spasm events. An electrode’s average ictal oscillation onset latency was most significantly associated with the length of direct corticocortical tracts connecting to the area with the earliest average oscillation onset (p < .001, model R
2 = 0.54). Moreover, patients demonstrating a faster propagation of ictal oscillation signals within the corticocortical network were more likely to have seizure recurrence following resective surgery (= .039). Ictal oscillation amplitude was also associated with connecting tractography length and weighted fractional anisotropy (FA) measures along these pathways (p = .002/.030, model R
2 = 0.31/0.25). Characteristics of analogous corticothalamic pathways did not show significant associations with ictal oscillation onset latency or amplitude.


Spatiotemporal propagation patterns of high-frequency activity in epileptic spasms align with length and FA measures from onset-originating corticocortical pathways. Considering data in this individualized framework may help inform surgical decision making and expectations of surgical outcomes.