The intracarotid amobarbital or Wada test: unilateral or bilateral?

S G Uijl, F S S Leijten, J B A M Arends, J Parra, A C van Huffelen, P C van Rijen, K G M Moons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: In the Netherlands, presurgical screening for temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) includes the intracarotid amobarbital procedure (IAP), consisting of two consecutive injections of amobarbital, ipsilateral and contralateral to the epileptic focus. We studied whether a bilateral IAP has added value to a unilateral, ipsilateral IAP.

METHODS: This population-based study included 183 consecutive patients referred for screening for TLE surgery who underwent bilateral IAP. Using multivariable modeling, we assessed the added value of bilateral IAP on the decision for surgery, resection size, amygdalohippocampectomy, post-operative seizure freedom, memory performance, and IQ change.

RESULTS: Given the results from the unilateral IAP, the bilateral IAP had added prognostic value for postoperative change in verbal memory (P < 0.01) and verbal IQ (P < 0.01), especially if patients had a left-sided focus. In contrast, information provided by the contralateral IAP was not associated with decision-making or surgical strategy.

CONCLUSIONS: A bilateral IAP has added value in predicting post-operative verbal memory and IQ. A bilateral IAP is currently not used to guide surgical strategy, but may be used for this purpose when verbal capacity is of particular concern in patients with a left-sided focus. In other cases, IAP is best performed unilaterally.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-206
Number of pages8
JournalActa Neurologica Scandinavica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2009


  • Adolescent
  • Amnesia
  • Amobarbital
  • Aphasia
  • Carotid Artery, Internal
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dominance, Cerebral
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intra-Arterial
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Language Tests
  • Male
  • Netherlands
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Neurosurgical Procedures
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Preoperative Care
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Unnecessary Procedures


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