RJ Simister, MA McLean, TM Salmenpera, GJ Barker, JS Duncan
PURPOSE: To investigate post-ictal changes in cerebral metabolites. METHODS: We performed a longitudinal quantitative proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) study in 10 patients with epilepsy and 10 control subjects. The patients were studied on two occasions: immediately following a seizure, and on a second occasion at least 7h after the most recent seizure. Each study measured N-acetyl aspartate plus N-acetyl aspartyl glutamate (NAAt), Creatine plus phosphocreatine (Cr), Choline containing compounds (Cho) and glutamate plus glutamine (GLX) concentrations using a short-echo time sequence (TE=30ms), and NAAt, Cr and lactate using a second sequence with longer echo time (TE=144ms). The control group was studied on two occasions using the same sequences. RESULTS: No inter-scan differences were observed for the control group. NAAt and NAAt/Cr levels were lower in the patient group at both measured TEs but did not change significantly between studies. The ratio of Cr at TE 144ms to TE 30ms (Cr(144)/Cr(30)) and GLX/Cr were higher and Cho lower in the post-ictal scan compared to the inter-ictal study. Change in Cr(144)/Cr(30) and NAAt(144)/Cr(144) correlated with the post-ictal interval. Lactate measurement at longer TE was not informative. DISCUSSION: Proton MRS is sensitive to metabolite changes following epileptic seizures within the immediate post-ictal period. The ratio Cr(144)/Cr(30) is the most sensitive measure of metabolic disturbance and is highest in the post-ictal period but appears to normalise within 2h of the most recent seizure.