Improved diagnosis in children with partial epilepsy using a multivariable prediction model based on EEG network characteristics

E.G.A.L. van Diessen, W.M. Otte, K.P.J. Braun, C.J. Stam, F.E. Jansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BACKGROUND: Electroencephalogram (EEG) acquisition is routinely performed to support an epileptic origin of paroxysmal events in patients referred with a possible diagnosis of epilepsy. However, in children with partial epilepsies the interictal EEGs are often normal. We aimed to develop a multivariable diagnostic prediction model based on electroencephalogram functional network characteristics.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Routinely performed interictal EEG recordings at first presentation of 35 children diagnosed with partial epilepsies, and of 35 children in whom the diagnosis epilepsy was excluded (control group), were used to develop the prediction model. Children with partial epilepsy were individually matched on age and gender with children from the control group. Periods of resting-state EEG, free of abnormal slowing or epileptiform activity, were selected to construct functional networks of correlated activity. We calculated multiple network characteristics previously used in functional network epilepsy studies and used these measures to build a robust, decision tree based, prediction model. Based on epileptiform EEG activity only, EEG results supported the diagnosis of with a sensitivity and specificity of 0.77 and 0.91 respectively. In contrast, the prediction model had a sensitivity of 0.96 [95% confidence interval: 0.78-1.00] and specificity of 0.95 [95% confidence interval: 0.76-1.00] in correctly differentiating patients from controls. The overall discriminative power, quantified as the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, was 0.89, defined as an excellent model performance. The need of a multivariable network analysis to improve diagnostic accuracy was emphasized by the lack of discriminatory power using single network characteristics or EEG's power spectral density.

CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Diagnostic accuracy in children with partial epilepsy is substantially improved with a model combining functional network characteristics derived from multi-channel electroencephalogram recordings. Early and accurate diagnosis is important to start necessary treatment as soon as possible and inform patients and parents on possible risks and psychosocial aspects in relation to the diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere59764
Pages (from-to)e59764
Number of pages1
JournalPLoS ONE [E]
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Adolescent
  • Algorithms
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsies, Partial
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Statistical
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • ROC Curve
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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