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Keywords:

  • Intracarotid amobarbital procedure;
  • Wada test;
  • Epilepsy surgery;
  • Memory;
  • Lateralized cerebral asymmetry;
  • Children

Summary:  Purpose: Because the capacity of intracarotid amobarbital (Wada) memory assessment to predict seizure-onset laterality in children has not been thoroughly investigated, three comprehensive epilepsy surgery centers pooled their data and examined Wada memory asymmetries to predict side of seizure onset in children being considered for epilepsy surgery.

Methods: One hundred fifty-two children with intractable epilepsy underwent Wada testing. Although the type and number of memory stimuli and methods varied at each institution, all children were presented with six to 10 items soon after amobarbital injection. After return to neurologic baseline, recognition memory for the stimuli was assessed. Seizure onset was determined by simultaneous video-EEG recordings of multiple seizures.

Results: In children with unilateral temporal lobe seizures (n = 87), Wada memory asymmetries accurately predicted seizure laterality to a statistically significant degree. Wada memory asymmetries also correctly predicted side of seizure onset in children with extra–temporal lobe seizures (n = 65). Although individual patient prediction accuracy was statistically significant in temporal lobe cases, onset laterality was incorrectly predicted in ≤52% of children with left temporal lobe seizure onset, depending on the methods and asymmetry criterion used. There also were significant differences between Wada prediction accuracy across the three epilepsy centers.

Conclusions: Results suggest that Wada memory assessment is useful in predicting side of seizure onset in many children. However, Wada memory asymmetries should be interpreted more cautiously in children than in adults.