Does the Intracarotid Amobarbital Procedure Predict Global Amnesia After Temporal Lobectomy?


Psychological Services, London Health Sciences Centre, University Campus, 339 Windermere Road, London, Ontario, N6A 5A5 Canada. E-mail:


Purpose: The intracarotid amobarbital procedure (LAP) is widely used to help predict who might be at risk for postoperative amnesia after unilateral temporal lobectomy for intractable seizures. We describe the memory outcome in 10 patients who underwent standard temporal lobectomy, including mesial temporal structures, despite failing the memory portion of the LAP after injections both ipsilateral and contralateral to the resected seizure focus.

Methods: Data for seven of the study subjects were obtained through a retrospective review of patients assessed on a surgical epilepsy unit during a 15-year period who failed the Montreal Neurological Institute LAP memory protocol after both ipsilateral and contralateral injections and subsequently underwent unilateral temporal lobectomy. More recently, we have studied temporal lobectomy patients who failed the Medical College of Georgia memory protocol after both ipsilateral and contralateral injections (n = 3). Preoperative and postoperative memory test scores were compared, and data regarding seizure outcome and self-perception of postoperative memory were collected.

Results: At follow-up, none of the patients presented with a pattern indicative of a global amnesia, and 80% demonstrated >90% improvement in their seizure disorder or were seizure-free.

Conclusions: These findings indicate that bilateral memory failure on the LAP does not preclude the removal of an epileptogenic temporal lobe or a successful surgical outcome. In addition, the findings raise questions regarding the validity of the LAP and the possibility that memory may be reorganized in patients with a long history of temporal lobe epilepsy.