Validation of FDG-PET/MRI coregistration in nonlesional refractory childhood epilepsy

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To validate the use of 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose–positron emission tomography/magnetic resonance imaging (FDG-PET/MRI) coregistration for epileptogenic zone detection in children with MRI nonlesional refractory epilepsy and to assess its ability to guide a second interpretation of the MRI studies.


Thirty-one children with refractory epilepsy whose MRI results were nonlesional were included prospectively. All patients underwent presurgical evaluation following the standard protocol of our epilepsy unit, which included FDG-PET and FDG-PET/MRI coregistration. Cerebral areas of decreased uptake in PET and PET/MRI fusion images were compared visually and then contrasted with presumed epileptogenic zone localization, which had been obtained from other clinical data. A second interpretation of MRI studies was carried out, focusing on the exact anatomic region in which hypometabolism was located in FDG-PET/MRI fusion images.

Key Findings:

Both FDG-PET and FDG-PET/MRI detected hypometabolism in 67.8% of patients, with good concordance on a subject basis and on the cerebral region involved (κ statistic = 0.83 and 0.79, respectively). Hypometabolism detected by single PET, as well as by PET/MRI fusion images, was located in the same hemisphere, as indicated by electroclinical data in 58% of patients, and at the same place in 39% of cases. Of the patients who showed hypometabolism on PET/MRI, 43% also experienced changes in the guided second MRI interpretation, from nonlesional to subtle-lesional.


PET/MRI coregistration is an imaging variant that is at least as accurate as PET alone in detecting epileptogenic zone in pediatric nonlesional patients, and can guide a second look at MRI studies previously reported as nonlesional, turning a meaningful percentage into subtle-lesional.

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