Cognitive outcome after epilepsy surgery in children: A controlled longitudinal study

Valentina Sibilia, Carmen Barba, Tiziana Metitieri, Giovanni Michelini, Flavio Giordano, Lorenzo Genitori, Renzo Guerrini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective To analyze the determinants of cognitive outcome two years after surgery for drug-resistant epilepsy in a cohort of 31 children when compared to a control group of 14 surgical candidates who had yet to undergo surgery two years after the first neuropsychological assessment. Methods Controlled longitudinal study including three evaluations of IQ (Intelligence Quotient) scores or GDQ (General Developmental Quotient) for each group depending on the patient's age: prior to surgery (T0), one year (T1) and two years (T2) after surgery for the surgical group; baseline (T0) and one year (T1) and 2 years (T2) after the first evaluation for the control-group. At follow-up, 25 children (80%) of the surgical group were seizure free, while seizure outcome was unsatisfactory in the remaining six (20%). To analyze language, visuomotor skills, memory, reading, visual attention, and behavior, we selected 11 school age children in the surgical group and nine controls. We reported performance prior to (T0) and one year after surgery (T1). Results There was a significant correlation between earlier age at seizure onset and lower IQ/GDQ at T0 (r = 0.39; p = 0.03) in the overall cohort. IQ/GDQ scores did not significantly differ between the surgical and control groups when analyzed at T0 and T2. However, they evolved differently with an improved developmental trajectory becoming identifiable only in the surgical group (F1,31 = 5.33 p = 0.028; η2 = 0.15). There was also a significant increase of forward digit span (Z = 2.33; p = 0.02) and Rey recall scores (Z = 1.97; p = 0.049) in the surgical school age subgroup at T1 versus T0. Significance We identified significantly different developmental trajectories in operated versus non- operated children with improved IQ/GDQ scores in operated children only. We also observed a significant increase of digit span scores and Rey recall scores a year after surgery. Further studies including larger samples with longer follow-ups are needed to confirm these preliminary findings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-30
Number of pages8
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2017


  • Behavioral outcome
  • Cognitive outcome
  • Epilepsy surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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