Seizure prediction would be clinically useful in patients with epilepsy and could improve safety, increase independence, and allow acute treatment. We did a multicentre clinical feasibility study to assess the safety and efficacy of a long-term implanted seizure advisory system designed to predict seizure likelihood and quantify seizures in adults with drug-resistant focal seizures.
We enrolled patients at three centres in Melbourne, Australia, between March 24, 2010, and June 21, 2011. Eligible patients had between two and 12 disabling partial-onset seizures per month, a lateralised epileptogenic zone, and no history of psychogenic seizures. After devices were surgically implanted, patients entered a data collection phase, during which an algorithm for identification of periods of high, moderate, and low seizure likelihood was established. If the algorithm met performance criteria (ie, sensitivity of high-likelihood warnings greater than 65% and performance better than expected through chance prediction of randomly occurring events), patients then entered an advisory phase and received information about seizure likelihood. The primary endpoint was the number of device-related adverse events at 4 months after implantation. Our secondary endpoints were algorithm performance at the end of the data collection phase, clinical effectiveness (measures of anxiety, depression, seizure severity, and quality of life) 4 months after initiation of the advisory phase, and longer-term adverse events. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01043406.
We implanted 15 patients with the advisory system. 11 device-related adverse events were noted within four months of implantation, two of which were serious (device migration, seroma); an additional two serious adverse events occurred during the first year after implantation (device-related infection, device site reaction), but were resolved without further complication. The device met enabling criteria in 11 patients upon completion of the data collection phase, with high likelihood performance estimate sensitivities ranging from 65% to 100%. Three patients' algorithms did not meet performance criteria and one patient required device removal because of an adverse event before sufficient training data were acquired. We detected no significant changes in clinical effectiveness measures between baseline and 4 months after implantation.
This study showed that intracranial electroencephalographic monitoring is feasible in ambulatory patients with drug-resistant epilepsy. If these findings are replicated in larger, longer studies, accurate definition of preictal electrical activity might improve understanding of seizure generation and eventually lead to new management strategies.