Orbitofrontal epilepsy: Case series and review of literature

Academic Article


  • Background Orbitofrontal epilepsy (OFE) is less known and is poorly characterized in comparison with temporal lobe epilepsy, partly because it is rare and possibly because it is unrecognized and therefore underestimated. Objective This paper aimed to better characterize seizure semiology, presurgical findings, and surgical outcomes in patients with OFE. Methods We retrospectively reviewed all confidently established OFE cases from six Canadian epilepsy monitoring units between 1988 and 2014, and in the literature between 1972 and 2017. Inclusion criteria were identification of an epileptogenic lesion localized in the OFC or if the patient was seizure-free after surgical removal of the OFC in nonlesional cases. Results Sixteen cases were identified from our databases. Fifty percent had predominantly sleep-related seizures; 56% had no aura (the remaining had nonspecific or vegetative auras), and 62.5% featured hypermotor (mostly hyperkinetic) behaviors. Interictal epileptiform discharges over frontal and temporal derivations always allowed lateralization. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) identified an orbitofrontal lesion in 8/16, positron emission tomography (PET) identified a hypometabolism extending outside the orbital cortex in 4/9, ictal single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) identified an orbital hyperperfusion in 1/5, magnetoencephalography (MEG) identified lateral orbital sources in 2/4, and intracranial electroencephalography (EEG) identified an orbitofrontal onset in 9/10. Fourteen patients underwent surgery, all reaching a favorable outcome (71.4% Engel 1; 28.6% Engel 2; mean FU = 5.6 years). Pre- and postoperative neuropsychological assessments revealed heterogeneous findings. Our review of literature identified 71 possible cases of OFE, 32 with confident focus localization. Extracted data from these cumulated cases supported observations made from our case series. Conclusions Orbitofrontal epilepsy should be suspected with sleep-related, hyperkinetic seizures with no specific aura, and frontotemporal interictal discharges. Several patients have nonmotor seizures with or without auras which may resemble temporal lobe seizures. Postoperative seizure outcome was favorable, but there is inherent bias as we only included patients with a seizure-free outcome if the MRI was negative. A larger study is required to address identified gaps in knowledge such as identifying discriminative features between medial and lateral OFE, evaluating the value of more recent diagnostic tools, and assessing the neuropsychological outcome of orbital epilepsy surgery.
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    Author List

  • Chibane IS; Boucher O; Dubeau F; Tran TPY; Mohamed I; McLachlan R; Sadler RM; Desbiens R; Carmant L; Nguyen DK
  • Start Page

  • 32
  • End Page

  • 38
  • Volume

  • 76