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Quantification of seizure termination patterns reveals limited pathways to seizure end

By Pariya Salami, Mia Borzello, Mark A Kramer, M Brandon Westover, Sydney S Cash

Posted 05 Mar 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.03.03.21252789

Seizures result from a variety of pathologies and exhibit great diversity in their dynamics. Although many studies have examined the dynamics of seizure initiation, few have investigated the mechanisms leading to seizure termination. We examined intracranial recordings from patients with intractable focal epilepsy to differentiate seizure termination patterns and investigate whether these termination patterns are indicative of different underlying mechanisms. Seizures (n=710) were recorded intracranially from 104 patients and visually classified as focal or secondarily generalized. Only two patterns emerged from this analysis: (a) those that end simultaneously across the brain (synchronous termination), and (b) those whose ictal activity terminates in some regions but continues in others (asynchronous termination). Finally, seizures ended with either an intermittent bursting pattern (burst suppression pattern), or continuous activity (continuous bursting). These findings allowed for a classification and quantification of the burst suppression ratio, absolute energy and network connectivity of all seizures and comparison across different seizure termination patterns. We found that different termination patterns can manifest within a single patient, even in seizures originating from the same onset locations. Most seizures terminate with patterns of burst suppression regardless of generalization but that seizure that secondarily generalize show burst suppression patterns in 90% of cases, while only 60% of focal seizures exhibit burst suppression. Interestingly, we found similar absolute energy and burst suppression ratios in seizures with synchronous and asynchronous termination, while seizures with continuous bursting were found to be different from seizures with burst suppression, showing lower energy during seizure and lower burst suppression ratio at the start and end of seizure. Finally, network density was observed to increase with seizure progression, with significantly lower densities in seizures with continuous bursting compared to seizures with burst suppression. Our study demonstrates that there are a limited number of seizure termination patterns, suggesting that, unlike seizure initiation, the number of mechanisms underlying seizure termination is constrained. The study of termination patterns may provide useful clues about how these seizures may be managed, which in turn may lead to more targeted modes of therapy for seizure control.

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