John Libbey Eurotext

Diagnostic value of MRI in the presurgical evaluation of patients with epilepsy: influence of field strength and sequence selection: a systematic review and meta-analysis from the E-PILEPSY Consortium Volume 24, numéro 2, April 2022


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Pieter van Eijsden on behalf of E-PILEPSY and the ERN EPiCARE 1
1 UMC Utrecht Brain Center, University Medical Center Utrecht, Department of (Child) Neurology and Neurosurgery, Utrecht University, the Netherlands
2 MR Research Center, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary
3 Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Sciences, Kings College London, London UK & UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, London, United Kingdom
4 Department of Medical Radiation Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
5 MedTech West at Sahlgrenska University Hospital Campus, Gothenburg, Sweden
6 Department of Psychiatry and Neurology, Budapest, Hungary
7 Department of Neurology, Christian-Doppler University Hospital, Paracelsus Medical University, affiliated EpiCARE Member, and Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, Salzburg, Austria
8 Department of Neurology, Medical University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
9 Department of Neurology, Charles University, Second Faculty of Medicine, Motol University Hospital, Prague, Czech Republic
10 Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospital “Saint Ivan Rilski,” Sofia, Bulgaria
11 Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Trust, Department of Neurosurgery, & UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, London, United Kingdom
12 Neuroscience Institute, Christan Doppler University Hospital, Paracelsus Medical University and Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience, Salzburg, Austria
13 Department of Public Health, Health Services Research and Health Technology Assessment, UMIT – University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology, Hall in Tirol, Austria
14 Centre for Medical Image Computing, University College London, London, United Kingdom, MRI Unit, Epilepsy Society, Chalfont St Peter, United Kingdom
15 Department of Neurology, University of Ulm and Universitäts- and Rehabilitationskliniken Ulm, Ulm, Germany
* Correspondence: Kees PJ Braun Dept Child Neurology, University Medical Center Utrecht, PO Box 85090 3508 AB Utrecht, the Netherlands
a These authors contributed equally


MRI is a cornerstone in presurgical evaluation of epilepsy. Despite guidelines, clinical practice varies. In light of the E-PILEPSY pilot reference network, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis on the diagnostic value of MRI in the presurgical evaluation of epilepsy patients.


We included original research articles on diagnostic value of higher MRI field strength and guideline-recommended and additional MRI sequences in detecting an epileptogenic lesion in adult or paediatric epilepsy surgery candidates. Lesion detection rate was used as a metric in meta-analysis.


Eighteen studies were included for MRI field strength and 25 for MRI sequences, none were free from bias. In patients with normal MRI at lower-field strength, 3T improved lesion detection rate by 18% and 7T by 23%. Field strengths higher than 1.5T did not have higher lesion detection rates in patients with hippocampal sclerosis (HS). The lesion detection rate of epilepsy-specific MRI protocols was 83% for temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) patients. Dedicated MRI protocols and evaluation by an experienced epilepsy neuroradiologist increased lesion detection. For HS, 3DT1, T2, and FLAIR each had a lesion detection rate at around 90%. Apparent diffusion coefficient indices had a lateralizing value of 33% for TLE. DTI fractional anisotropy and mean diffusivity had a localizing value of 8% and 34%.


A dedicated MRI protocol and expert evaluation benefits lesion detection rate in epilepsy surgery candidates. If patients remain MRI negative, imaging at higher-field strength may reveal lesions. In HS, apparent diffusion coefficient indices may aid lateralization and localization more than increasing field strength. DTI can add further diagnostic information. For other additional sequences, the quality and number of studies is insufficient to draw solid conclusions. Our findings may be used as evidence base for developing new high-quality MRI studies and clinical guidelines.