The changing landscape of electrical stimulation language mapping with subdural electrodes and stereoelectroencephalography for pediatric epilepsy: A literature review and commentary


Electrical stimulation mapping (ESM) is used to locate the brain areas supporting language directly within the human cortex to minimize the risk of functional decline following epilepsy surgery. ESM is completed by utilizing subdural grid or depth electrodes (stereo-electroencephalography [sEEG]) in combination with behavioral evaluation of language. Despite technological advances, there is no standardized method of assessing language during pediatric ESM. To identify current clinical practices for pediatric ESM of language, we surveyed neuropsychologists in the Pediatric Epilepsy Research Consortium. Results indicated that sEEG is used for functional mapping at >80% of participating epilepsy surgery centers (n = 13/16) in the United States. However, >65% of sites did not report a standardized protocol to map language. Survey results indicated a clear need for practice recommendations regarding ESM of language. We then utilized PubMed/Medline and PsychInfo to identify 42 articles that reported on ESM of language, of which 18 met inclusion criteria, which included use of ESM/signal recording to localize language regions in children (<21 years) and a detailed account of the procedure and language measures used, and region-specific language localization outcomes. Articles were grouped based on the language domain assessed, language measures used, and the brain regions involved. Our review revealed the need for evidence-based clinical guidelines for pediatric language paradigms during ESM and a standardized language mapping protocol as well as standardized reporting of brain regions in research. Relevant limitations and future directions are discussed with a focus on considerations for pediatric language mapping.