Surgical treatment in epilepsy is effective if the epileptogenic zone (EZ) can be correctly localized and characterized. Here we use simultaneous electroencephalography–functional magnetic resonance imaging (EEG-fMRI) data to derive EEG-fMRI and electrical source imaging (ESI) maps. Their yield and their individual and combined ability to (1) localize the EZ and (2) predict seizure outcome were then evaluated.


Fifty-three children with drug-resistant epilepsy underwent EEG-fMRI. Interictal discharges were mapped using both EEG-fMRI hemodynamic responses and ESI. A single localization was derived from each individual test (EEG-fMRI global maxima [GM]/ESI maximum) and from the combination of both maps (EEG-fMRI/ESI spatial intersection). To determine the localization accuracy and its predictive performance, the individual and combined test localizations were compared to the presumed EZ and to the postsurgical outcome.


Fifty-two of 53 patients had significant maps: 47 of 53 for EEG-fMRI, 44 of 53 for ESI, and 34 of 53 for both. The EZ was well characterized in 29 patients; 26 had an EEG-fMRI GM localization that was correct in 11, 22 patients had ESI localization that was correct in 17, and 12 patients had combined EEG-fMRI and ESI that was correct in 11. Seizure outcome following resection was correctly predicted by EEG-fMRI GM in 8 of 20 patients, and by the ESI maximum in 13 of 16. The combined EEG-fMRI/ESI region entirely predicted outcome in 9 of 9 patients, including 3 with no lesion visible on MRI.


EEG-fMRI combined with ESI provides a simple unbiased localization that may predict surgery better than each individual test, including in MRI-negative patients. Ann Neurol 2017;82:278–287.


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