Combined Isoflurane-Remifentanil Anaesthesia Permits Resting-State fMRI in Children with Severe Epilepsy and Intellectual Disability.Brain Topogr. 2020 Jul 04 [Online ahead of print]BT
Head motion is a significant barrier to functional MRI (fMRI) in patients who are unable to tolerate awake scanning, including young children or those with cognitive and behavioural impairments. General anaesthesia minimises motion and ensures patient comfort, however the optimal anaesthesia regimen for fMRI in the paediatric setting is unknown. In this study, we tested the feasibility of anaesthetised fMRI in 11 patients (mean age = 9.8 years) with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, a severe form of childhood-onset epilepsy associated with intellectual disability. fMRI was acquired during clinically-indicated MRI sessions using a synergistic anaesthesia regimen we typically administer for epilepsy neurosurgery: combined low-dose isoflurane (≤ 0.8% end-tidal concentration) with remifentanil (≤ 0.1 mcg/kg/min). Using group-level independent component analysis, we assessed the presence of resting-state networks by spatially comparing results in the anaesthetised patients to resting-state network templates from the 'Generation R' study of 536 similarly-aged non-anaesthetised healthy children (Muetzel et al. in Hum Brain Mapp 37(12):4286-4300, 2016). Numerous resting-state networks commonly studied in non-anaesthetised healthy children were readily identifiable in the anaesthetised patients, including the default-mode, sensorimotor, and frontoparietal networks. Independent component time-courses associated with these networks showed spectral characteristics suggestive of a neuronal origin of fMRI signal fluctuations, including high dynamic range and temporal frequency power predominantly below 0.1 Hz. These results demonstrate the technical feasibility of anaesthetised fMRI in children, suggesting that combined isoflurane-remifentanil anaesthesia may be an effective strategy to extend the emerging clinical applications of resting-state fMRI (for example, neurosurgical planning) to the variety of patient groups who may otherwise be impractical to scan.