Publications by authors named "Ana Suller-Marti"

11 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Epilepsy surgery in stroke-related epilepsy.

Seizure 2021 Apr 5;88:116-124. Epub 2021 Apr 5.

Epilepsy Program, Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University, 339 Windermere Rd. London, Ontario, Canada, N6A 5A5; Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University, 339 Windermere Rd. London, Ontario, Canada, N6A 5A5; Neuro-Epidemiology Unit, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University, 339 Windermere Rd. London, Ontario, Canada, N6A 5A5. Electronic address:

Purpose: To provide a descriptive analysis on the presurgical evaluation and surgical management of a cohort of patients with stroke related epilepsy (SRE).

Methods: We retrospectively examined the clinical characteristics, results of non-invasive and invasive presurgical evaluation, surgical management and outcome of consecutive patients with drug-resistant SRE in our institution from January 1, 2013 to January 1, 2020.

Results: Twenty-one of 420 patients (5%) who underwent intracranial EEG (iEEG), resective epilepsy surgery and/or vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) placement, had SRE. Of 13 patients who had iEEG, the ictal onset (IO) was exclusively within the stroke lesion in only one patient. In five patients the IO was extra-lesional and in the remaining seven patients it included the stroke lesion as well as extra-lesional structures. The IO included the mesial temporal region in 11 of the 13 patients (85%). The posterior margin of the stroke lesion was always involved. Five patients underwent surgery without iEEG. In total, 10 patients underwent resective surgery, four VNS placement and two had both corpus callosotomy and VNS placement. Of the patients who had resective surgery, nine were Engel I or II at last follow up.

Conclusion: We found that seizures in patients with drug resistant SRE were more frequently originated in the mesial temporal region than in the stroke lesion itself. Despite the complex epileptic network underlying drug-resistant SRE, a thorough presurgical assessment and adequate use of surgical options can lead to excellent surgical outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.seizure.2021.04.002DOI Listing
April 2021

Vagus nerve stimulation does not alter brainstem nuclei morphology in patients with refractory epilepsy.

Epilepsy Behav 2021 May 7;118:107940. Epub 2021 Apr 7.

Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences, London Health Sciences Centre, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada; Department of Pathology and Lab Medicine, London Health Sciences Centre, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada. Electronic address:

Objective: To describe morphological characteristics of the brainstem nuclei in response to chronic vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) in patients with refractory epilepsy.

Background: VNS is a treatment option for individuals with medically refractory epilepsy. While treatment with VNS may achieve up to 50% seizure reduction and is protective against sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP), its mechanism of action is not fully understood. Long-term structural and cellular changes in response to VNS have rarely been addressed in humans.

Methods: Four autopsy cases with history of chronic epilepsy treated with VNS (VNS+) and 4 age- and sex-matched chronic epilepsy-related death cases without VNS (VNS-) were included. Detailed clinical and postmortem data were obtained. Serial horizontal sections of the brainstem were prepared and stained with hematoxylin, eosin, and luxol fast blue (HE/LFB). Three regions of interest (ROIs) were delineated, including nucleus tractus solitarius (NTS), locus coeruleus (LC), and the rostral pontine group of raphe nuclei (rRN). Immunohistochemistry studies were performed using antibodies to GFAP, NeuN, HLA-DR, and IBA-1. Immunolabeling index was analyzed.

Results: Three of the 4 VNS+ patients and all 4 control (VNS-) patients died of SUDEP. There was no laterality difference in the NeuN, GFAP, HLA-DR and IBA-1 expression in LC and NTS of VNS+ patients. Similarly, there was no difference in the rRN, LC, and NTS between the VNS+ and VNS- groups.

Conclusion: This study represents the first histopathological study of the long-term effects of VNS therapy in the human brain. There was no difference observed in the neuronal cell number, degree of astrocytosis, and neuroinflammation in the main brainstem vagal afferent nuclei after prolonged VNS treatment in patients with refractory epilepsy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2021.107940DOI Listing
May 2021

All that glitters: Contribution of stereo-EEG in patients with lesional epilepsy.

Epilepsy Res 2021 Feb 2;170:106546. Epub 2021 Jan 2.

Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada; Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada; Neuro-Epidemiology Unit, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada. Electronic address:

Objective: To determine the contribution of stereo-EEG for localization purpose in patients with a visible lesion on MRI.

Background: Intracranial EEG is often used to localize the epileptogenic focus in patients with non-lesional focal epilepsy. Its role in cases where a lesion is visible on MRI can be even more complex and the relationship between the lesion and the seizure onset has rarely been addressed.

Methods: All consecutive patients between February 2013 and May 2018 who underwent stereo-EEG and had a lesion visible on MRI were included. We assessed the localization of the seizure onset and its relationship with the lesion. Clinical, radiological, and electrographic analyses were performed.

Results: Stereo-EEG revealed a seizure onset with either partial or no overlap with the lesion seen on MRI in 42 (56 %) of the 75 lesions included. Mesial temporal sclerosis was the only lesion type associated with an exclusively lesional seizure onset (p = 0.003).

Conclusion: Epilepsy surgery in MRI-positive cases should rely not only the results of lesions seen on MRI, which might be potentially misleading; SEEG is a gold standard method in these cases to define resective borders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2020.106546DOI Listing
February 2021

Stimulation of the Anterior Nucleus of the Thalamus for Epilepsy: A Canadian Experience.

Can J Neurol Sci 2020 Oct 16:1-10. Epub 2020 Oct 16.

Epilepsy Program, Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences, Schulich School of Medicine, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada.

Objective: To describe the experience with Anterior Nucleus of the Thalamus-Deep Brain Stimulation (ANT-DBS) for the treatment of epilepsy at a Canadian Center.

Methods: All patients who underwent ANT-DBS implantation between 2013 (first patient implanted at our center) and 2020 were included. These patients had therapy-resistant epilepsy (TRE), were not candidates for resective surgery, and failed vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) treatment. Baseline of monthly seizure frequency was calculated within 3 months prior to VNS placement. Monthly seizure frequency was assessed at different points along the timeline: 3 months before ANT-DBS implantation as well as 3, 6, 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, and 72 months after ANT-DBS device placement. At each time point, seizure frequency was compared to baseline.

Results: Six patients were implanted with ANT-DBS. Three (50%) patients had multifocal epilepsy, one (16.6%) had focal epilepsy, and two (33.4%) had combined generalized and focal epilepsy. Two patients with multifocal epilepsy experienced a seizure reduction >50% in the long-term follow-up. Three (50%) patients did not showed improvement: two with combined generalized and focal epilepsy and one with focal epilepsy. There were not surgical or device-related side effects. Two (33.3%) patients presented mild and transient headaches as a stimulation-related side effect.

Conclusion: ANT-DBS is an effective and safe treatment for focal TRE. Our experience suggests that patients with multifocal epilepsy due to regional lesion may benefit from ANT-DBS the most. Further investigations are required to determine optimal parameters of stimulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/cjn.2020.230DOI Listing
October 2020

Non-lesional eating epilepsy with temporo-insular onset: A stereo-EEG study.

Epilepsy Behav Rep 2020 1;14:100368. Epub 2020 May 1.

Epilepsy Program, Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada.

Eating Epilepsy (EE) is a rare and often under-recognized form of reflex epilepsy, which manifests with seizures triggered during meals, with or without spontaneous seizures. The electro-clinical manifestations of EE are distinct with variable response to antiseizure drugs. We report the case of a 34-year-old man who was seen for a 4-year history of drug-resistant focal impaired awareness seizures associated with eating without a structural cause. Scalp video-EEG delineated a right temporal seizure focus with atypical features. Subsequent stereo-EEG revealed synchronized seizure onset from the right mesial temporal region and the right inferior insula. Resective surgery of the involved areas rendered this patient seizure-free with 3 years' follow-up. In non-lesional cases of drug-resistant EE, the epileptogenic zone can be large and deep, and therefore stereo-EEG was helpful in determining the seizure onset zone.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ebr.2020.100368DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7334470PMC
May 2020

Can we accurately lateralize the epileptogenic zone in patients who have seizure clusters? A study using stereo-electroencephalography.

Epilepsy Res 2020 10 23;166:106405. Epub 2020 Jun 23.

Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada; Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada; Neuro-epidemiology Unit, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada. Electronic address:

Objective: To determine if the ictal onset recorded with stereoelectroencephalography (SEEG) during clusters of seizures is reliable to identify the laterality of the epileptogenic zone.

Background: In the presurgical evaluation of patients with focal drug-resistant epilepsy, the presence of bilateral ictal onset is usually associated with a poor surgical outcome. It has been reported that the laterality of seizures can be influenced during seizure clusters, although this remains controversial. Most studies have addressed this issue using scalp EEG which could erroneously determine the laterality of the ictal onset.

Methods: We examined all consecutive patients who underwent SEEG with bilateral hemispheric coverage at our institution between January 2013 and September 2018. We assessed the presence of seizure clusters (clinical or subclinical), their laterality by SEEG and the surgical outcome of the patients. A descriptive clinical and electrographic analysis was performed.

Results: Of 143 patients who underwent SEEG recordings, we identified only six patients who had bilateral ictal onset that went on to resective surgery. In all six patients the discordant seizures occurred during a seizure cluster. Three of these patients were seizure free at last follow up.

Conclusion: Discordant seizures obtained during a seizure cluster may not necessarily mean that the patient has bilateral epilepsy, and therefore a poor post-surgical outcome. Seizure clusters may not reliably lateralize the epileptogenic zone.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eplepsyres.2020.106405DOI Listing
October 2020

Vagus nerve stimulation in patients with therapy-resistant generalized epilepsy.

Epilepsy Behav 2020 10 29;111:107253. Epub 2020 Jun 29.

Epilepsy Program, Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University, London, ON, Canada; Neuroepidemiology Unit, Schulich School of Medicine, Western University, London, ON, Canada.

Background: For patients with generalized epilepsy who do not respond to antiseizure medications, the therapeutic options are limited. Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is a treatment mainly approved for therapy-resistant focal epilepsy. There is limited information on the use of VNS on generalized epilepsies, including Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS) and genetic generalized epilepsy (GGE).

Methods: We identified patients with a diagnosis of generalized epilepsy (including LGS and GGE), who underwent VNS implantation at the London Health Sciences Centre and Western University, London, Ontario, since this treatment became available in Canada in 1997 until July 2018. We assessed response to the treatment, including admissions to hospital and complications.

Results: A total of 46 patients were included in this study with a history of therapy-resistant generalized epilepsy. The mean age at implantation was 24 years (interquartile range [IQR] = 17.8-31 years), significantly younger in the LGS group (p = 0.02) and 50% (n = 23) were female. The most common etiologies were GGE in 37% (n = 17) and LGS in 63% (n = 29). Median follow-up since VNS implantation was 63 months (IQR: 31-112.8 months). Of the LGS group 41.7% (n = 12) of patients had an overall seizure reduction of 50% or more, and 64.7% (n = 11) in the GGE group without statistical significance between the groups. The best response in seizure reduction was seen in generalized tonic-clonic seizures, with a significant reduction in the GGE group (p = 0.043). There was a reduction of seizure-related hospital admissions from 91.3% (N = 42) preimplantation, to 43.5% (N = 20) postimplantation (p < 0.05). The frequency of side effects due to the stimulation was almost equal in both groups (62.1% in LGS and 64.7% in GGE).

Conclusions: Vagus nerve stimulation should be considered as a treatment in patients with therapy-resistant generalized epilepsy, especially in cases with GGE.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yebeh.2020.107253DOI Listing
October 2020

Impact of 24-Hour On-Call Shifts on Headache in Medical Residents: A Cohort Study.

Headache 2020 07 3;60(7):1427-1431. Epub 2020 Jun 3.

Neurology Department, Hospital Clínico Universitario Lozano Blesa, Zaragoza, Spain.

Background: During 24-hour on-call shifts medical residents are exposed to diverse circumstances such as sleep deprivation and stress.

Objective: Our aim is to assess the effect of 24-hour on-call shifts on medical residents' headache-related disability.

Methods: The Migraine Disability Assessment Scale (MIDAS), the Headache Impact Test (HIT-6), the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) questionnaires were administered to medical residents who had never performed on-call shifts at baseline and 6 months after beginning 24-hour on-call shifts. Scores were compared.

Results: About 66 medical residents completed this study. About 21.2% (n = 14) had history of migraine, 42.4% (n = 28) had a history of tension-type headache (TTH) and 12.1% (n = 8) had a history of both migraine and TTH. Among medical residents with migraine, the median MIDAS score was significantly higher after starting 24-hour on-call shifts than at a baseline (4.0 vs 8.0; Wilcoxon, P = .001), meaning that, on average, disability increased from little or no disability, to moderate disability. No difference in HIT-6 scores was found. The median score of PSQI and HADS was higher at 6 months (PSQI: 7.0 vs 8.0; P = .003), (HADS: 5.0 vs 8.0; P < .001) for the general group.

Conclusions: In medical residents with migraine, migraine-related disability increased after starting 24-hour on-call shifts. We also found a worsening in depression and anxiety symptoms and self-reported sleep quality in medical residents with and without headache history.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/head.13861DOI Listing
July 2020

Seizure Freedom in Temporal Plus Epilepsy Surgery Following Stereo-Electroencephalography.

Can J Neurol Sci 2020 05;47(3):374-381

Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada.

Background: "Temporal plus" epilepsy (TPE) is a term that is used when the epileptogenic zone (EZ) extends beyond the boundaries of the temporal lobe. Stereotactic electroencephalography (SEEG) has been essential to identify additional EZs in adjacent structures that might be part of the temporal lobe/limbic network.

Objective: We present a small case series of temporal plus cases successfully identified by SEEG who were seizure-free after resective surgery.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of 156 patients who underwent SEEG in 5 years. Six cases had TPE and underwent anterior temporal lobectomy (ATL) with additional extra-temporal resections.

Results: Five cases had a focus on the right hemisphere and one on the left. Three cases were non-lesional and three were lesional. Mean follow-up time since surgery was 2.9 years (SD ± 1.8). Three patients had subdural electrodes investigation prior or in addition to SEEG. All patients underwent standard ATL and additional extra-temporal resections during the same procedure or at a later date. All patients were seizure-free at their last follow-up appointment (Engel Ia = 3; Engel Ib = 2; Engel Ic = 1). Pathology was nonspecific/gliosis for all six cases.

Conclusion: TPE might explain some of the failures in temporal lobe epilepsy surgery. We present a small case series of six patients in whom SEEG successfully identified this phenomenon and surgery proved effective.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/cjn.2020.26DOI Listing
May 2020

Sphenopalatine ganglion stimulation in cluster headache and other types of headache.

Cephalalgia 2016 Oct 11;36(12):1149-1155. Epub 2016 Jul 11.

1 Department of Neurology, Hospital Clínico Universitario Valencia, Spain.

Objectives The cluster headache is the most excruciatingly painful primary headache. In some patients, neither preventive treatment nor acute treatment is effective or treatment is poorly tolerated. The sphenopalatine ganglion (SPG) has an important role in the pathophysiology of cluster headache and, for this reason, SPG stimulation has been used to treat cluster headache. Methods We have reviewed the published literature on the role of the SPG in cluster headache and the use of different treatments targeting the SPG. Results Multiple procedures have been used over the SPG to treat pain and trigemino-autonomic symptoms in patients with refractory cluster headache. After obtaining good results in a small number of patients, a miniaturized stimulator was developed. Stimulation of the SPG with this device proved to be efficacious in acute and preventive treatment in a clinical trial involving patients with chronic refractory cluster headache. Implantation of the device is minimally invasive and the most frequent side-effects are mild, such as paraesthesia and pain over the maxillary area. In patients who have used the SPG device for longer than one year, the therapeutic effect remains effective and the side-effects decrease. Conclusions The reported studies have demonstrated that SPG stimulation is a safe and effective treatment for chronic cluster headache. Long-term studies have shown that the effect remains over time and this treatment could be a good choice in patients with chronic refractory headache. We need more data about its potential use in other forms of headache, such as other trigemino-autonomic headaches or migraine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0333102416644968DOI Listing
October 2016