Successful localization of the Broca area with short-train pulses instead of 'Penfield' stimulation

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Direct electrical stimulation of functional cortical areas is a standard procedure in epilepsy and glioma surgery. Many previous studies support that stimulation of the motor cortex with short-train pulses is a less epileptogenic alternative to the 50-60 Hz 'Penfield' technique. However, whether the short-train stimulation is useful also in mapping of speech areas is unclear. In this case report we present a patient with oligodendroglioma near the Broca area. Extraoperative electrical stimulation via a subdural grid electrode was primarily performed to locate the speech area. The cortex was stimulated with short-train pulses (5 pulses, 0.5 pulse duration and 3 ms interpulse interval) in addition to 1-3 s 50 Hz stimulation. The patient had speech arrest from both types of stimulation techniques during a naming task. It was however critical that the short (14.5 ms) train stimulation was synchronized with the presentation of the naming objects. If not, there was no speech arrest. Despite this possible pitfall, this case has encouraged us to further try short-train stimulation in attempts to reduce stimulus-triggered seizures during mapping of eloquent areas. © 2009 British Epilepsy Association.




Axelson, H. W., Hesselager, G., & Flink, R. (2009). Successful localization of the Broca area with short-train pulses instead of “Penfield” stimulation. Seizure, 18(5), 374–375.

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