Beyond the Wada: An updated approach to pre-surgical language and memory testing: An updated review of available evaluation techniques and recommended workflow to limit Wada test use to essential clinical cases

Syed Qadri, Hina Dave, Rohit Das, Sasha Alick-Lindstrom

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

The Intracarotid amobarbital test (IAT), also called Wada test, is considered the “gold standard” for lateralizing language dominance in the pre-surgical evaluation of patients with epilepsy. In addition, it has been further modified to assess the postoperative risk of amnesia in patients undergoing temporal lobectomy. Since then it has been utilized to lateralize language and assess pre-surgical memory function. Over the years, its popularity has declined due to several limitations and availability of alternative procedures like fMRI and MEG. A survey of its use in the pre-surgical evaluation for epilepsy surgery has not been performed since the 2008 international survey by Baxendale et al. and it was heavily skewed due to data from European and North American countries. Only approximately 12% of the epilepsy centers indicated that they used the Wada test in every patient to assess preoperative memory function and language lateralization before temporal lobectomy. Nowadays, we have many functional mapping tools at our disposal. It has become somewhat unsuitable to have epilepsy patients undergo an invasive test such as the Wada test for the risks associated with it outweigh the benefits. Our objective is to review the Wada Test and alternative methods of assessing language and memory dominance, as it is past its prime and should only be used in specific circumstances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106673
JournalEpilepsy Research
Volume174
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2021

Keywords

  • Epilepsy pre-surgical workup
  • Epilepsy surgery
  • Intracarotid amobarbital test
  • Intractable focal epilepsy
  • Language and memory testing
  • MEG
  • Mesial temporal lobe epilepsy
  • Neuropsychology testing
  • Wada
  • fMRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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