Importance: Literature on ictal magnetoencephalography (MEG) in clinical practice and the relationship to other modalities is limited because of the brevity of routine studies. Objective: To investigate the utility and reliability of ictal MEG in the localization of the epileptogenic zone. Design, Setting, and Participants: A retrospective medical record review and prospective analysis of a novel ictal rhythm analysis method was conducted at a tertiary epilepsy center with a wide base of referrals for epilepsy surgery evaluation and included consecutive cases of patients who experienced epileptic seizures during routine MEG studies from March 2008 to February 2012. A total of 377 studies screened. Data were analyzed from November 2011 to October 2015. Main Outcomes and Measures: Presurgical workup and interictal and ictal MEG data were reviewed. The localizing value of using extended-source localization of a narrow band identified visually at onset was analyzed. Results: Of the 44 included patients, the mean (SD) age at the time of recording was 19.3 (14.9) years, and 25 (57%) were male. The mean duration of recording was 51.2 minutes. Seizures were provoked by known triggers in 3 patients and were spontaneous otherwise. Twenty-five patients (57%) had 1 seizure, 6 (14%) had 2, and 13 (30%) had 3 or more. Magnetoencephalography single equivalent current dipole analysis was possible in 29 patients (66%), of whom 8 (28%) had no clear interictal discharges. Sublobar concordance between ictal and interictal dipoles was seen in 18 of 21 patients (86%). Three patients (7%) showed clear ictal MEG patterns without electroencephalography changes. Ictal MEG dipoles correlated with the lobe of onset in 7 of 8 patients (88%) who underwent intracranial electroencephalography evaluations. Reasons for failure to identify ictal dipoles included diffuse or poor dipolar ictal patterns, no MEG changes, and movement artifact. Resection of areas containing a minimum-norm estimate of a narrow band at onset, not single equivalent current dipole, was associated with sustained seizure freedom. Conclusions and Significance: Ictal MEG data can provide reliable localization, including in cases that are difficult to localize by other modalities. These findings support the use of extended-source localization for seizures recorded during MEG..
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