Activation of electrocorticographic activity with remifentanil and alfentanil during neurosurgical excision of epileptogenic focus.

Department of Anesthesia and Pain Management The Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network, 399 Bathurst Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5T 2S8.
BJA British Journal of Anaesthesia (Impact Factor: 4.35). 11/2003; 91(5):651-5.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Opioids are known to stimulate surface electroencephalographic activity in patients with temporal lobe epilepsy. The objective of the current study was to compare the electrocorticographic activation effects of the newer short-acting opioid remifentanil with those of alfentanil during epilepsy surgery under general anaesthesia.
Thirteen patients undergoing temporal lobe epilepsy surgery under general anaesthesia received alfentanil 30 microg kg(-1) and remifentanil 1 microg kg(-1) as i.v. boluses in sequence. The design was a randomized double-blind cross-over study. After opening the dura, electrocorticogram (ECoG) electrode contact strips were placed over the temporal and supratemporal neocortex and depth electrodes were inserted in the amygdala and hippocampus. Alfentanil 30 microg kg(-1) or remifentanil 1 microg kg(-1) were administered randomly in a blinded fashion. The ECoG was recorded continuously before and after the injection of each drug. The interictal epileptiform activity (spikes and sharp waves) above baseline was analysed.
Both drugs increased epileptiform activity especially that recorded from depth electrodes in the temporal limbic structures. No epileptiform activity was recorded from the electrodes overlying the supratemporal neocortex before or after drug administration. The more potent activator was alfentanil, which caused an increase in activation from baseline of 99.8% compared with 67.4% for remifentanil. In addition, alfentanil activated the epileptiform activity in 3 patients in which remifentanil had no effect. There were no changes in heart rate after the opioid boluses. Both remifentanil and alfentanil caused significant reductions in blood pressure at 3 and 5 min after administration.
We conclude that at the doses used in this study, alfentanil is the better opioid for intraoperative activation of the ECoG in neurosurgical patients undergoing resection of a temporal lobe epileptic focus. This pharmacological activation of epileptiform activity assists in localizing and confirming the site of surgical excision. Neither alfentanil nor remifentanil activated epileptiform activity in non-epileptic brain tissue.

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    ABSTRACT: IMPORTANCE Scalp electroencephalography (EEG) and intraoperative electrocorticography (ECoG) are routinely used in the evaluation of magnetic resonance imaging-negative temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) undergoing standard anterior temporal lobectomy with amygdalohippocampectomy (ATL), but the utility of interictal epileptiform discharge (IED) identification and its role in outcome are poorly defined. OBJECTIVES To determine whether the following are associated with surgical outcomes in patients with magnetic resonance imaging-negative TLE who underwent standard ATL: (1) unilateral-only IEDs on preoperative scalp EEG; (2) complete resection of tissue generating IEDs on ECoG; (3) complete resection of opioid-induced IEDs recorded on ECoG; and (4) location of IEDs recorded on ECoG. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS Data were gathered through retrospective medical record review at a tertiary referral center. Adult and pediatric patients with TLE who underwent standard ATL between January 1, 1990, and October 15, 2010, were considered for inclusion. Inclusion criteria were magnetic resonance imaging-negative TLE, standard ECoG performed at the time of surgery, and a minimum follow-up of 12 months. Univariate analysis was performed using log-rank time-to-event analysis. Variables reaching significance with log-rank testing were further analyzed using Cox proportional hazards. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Excellent or nonexcellent outcome at time of last follow-up. An excellent outcome was defined as Engel class I and a nonexcellent outcome as Engel classes II through IV. RESULTS Eighty-seven patients met inclusion criteria, with 48 (55%) achieving an excellent outcome following ATL. Unilateral IEDs on scalp EEG (P = .001) and complete resection of brain regions generating IEDs on baseline intraoperative ECoG (P = .02) were associated with excellent outcomes in univariate analysis. Both were associated with excellent outcomes when analyzed with Cox proportional hazards (unilateral-only IEDs, relative risk = 0.31 [95% CI, 0.16-0.64]; complete resection of IEDs on baseline ECoG, relative risk = 0.39 [95% CI, 0.20-0.76]). Overall, 25 of 35 patients (71%) with both unilateral-only IEDs and complete resection of baseline ECoG IEDs had an excellent outcome. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Unilateral-only IEDs on preoperative scalp EEG and complete resection of IEDs on baseline ECoG are associated with better outcomes following standard ATL in magnetic resonance imaging-negative TLE. Prospective evaluation is needed to clarify the use of ECoG in tailoring temporal lobectomy.
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