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Selective posterior cerebral artery amobarbital test: a predictor of memory following subtemporal selective amygdalohippocampectomy


Background The selective posterior cerebral artery (PCA) amobarbital test, or PCA Wada test, is used to predict memory impairment after epilepsy surgery in patients who have previously had a failed internal carotid artery (ICA) amobarbital test.

Methods Medical records from 2012 to 2018 were retrospectively reviewed for all patients with seizures who underwent a selective PCA Wada test at our institution following a failed or inconclusive ICA Wada test. Standardized neuropsychological testing was performed before and during the Wada procedure and postoperatively in patients who underwent resection.

Results Thirty-three patients underwent a selective PCA Wada test, with no complications. Twenty-six patients with medically refractory epilepsy had a seizure focus amenable to selective amygdalohippocampectomy (AHE). Six patients (23%, n=26) had a failed PCA Wada test and did not undergo selective AHE, seven (27%) declined surgical resection, leaving 13 patients who underwent subtemporal selective AHE. Hippocampal sclerosis was found in all 13 patients (100%). Twelve patients (92%) subsequently underwent formal neuropsychological testing and all were found to have stable memory. Ten patients (77%) were seizure-free (Engel Class I), with average follow-up of 13 months.

Conclusion The selective PCA Wada test is predictive of memory outcomes after subtemporal selective AHE in patients with a failed or inconclusive ICA Wada test. Furthermore, given the low risk of complications and potential benefit of seizure freedom, a selective PCA Wada test may be warranted in patients with medically intractable epilepsy who are candidates for a selective AHE and who have a prior failed or inconclusive ICA Wada test.

  • selective posterior cerebral artery amobarbital test
  • subtemporal selective amygdalohippocampectomy
  • temporal lobe epilepsy

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