NeuroCare Brain & Spine Center
What is Wada Testing...
The Wada Test or â€œintracarotid amobarbital procedureâ€ is part of the
pre-surgical evaluation of epilepsy. It was named after Dr. Juhn A. Wada who
introduced the procedure in 1949. During the Wada test, each cerebral
hemisphere (half of the brain) is anesthetized separately with â€œamobarbitalâ€
or â€œsodium amytalâ€ to allow for testing of the opposite (side without
This procedure can establish which hemisphere (side of the brain) is
dominant for language and can determine if a single hemisphere can support
memory function. Results from Wada testing and the neuropsychological
evaluation can provide important information regarding cognitive and seizure
What is involved with this procedureâ€¦
- Electrodes will be placed on your scalp so that an EEG recording can
be done during Wada testing.
- An IV is started and blood work is done.
- Baseline language and memory testing are completed. Memory is tested
by showing eight objects to the patient to remember. After that, we test
basic language functions such as comprehension (understanding), naming,
repetition and reading. After language testing is finished, the patient
is shown the eight objects mixed in with a group of 16 objects to see if
the patient can selectively recognize any of the memory objects. This
brief memory and language assessment is repeated twice more during the
actual Wada test.
- After baseline testing of memory and language, a cerebral angiogram
is done. Cerebral angiography is a way of taking x-ray pictures of the
arteries in the brain. X-ray dye in injected into the arteries through a
catheter. This allows them to be seen on x-rays.
- Wada testing begins after the angiogram is completed. Amobarbital is
given via the catheter to put half of the brain to sleep for
approximately 10 minutes. During that brief time, we show eight new
objects and then test your language functions again. Once the
medications have worn off and your EEG, language and motor functions
have returned to normal, we test your recall and recognition of the
- Wada testing continues as the other half of the brain is put to
sleep and the whole memory and language procedure is repeated using
eight different objects for the memory testing. The angiogram and Wada
testing take approximately two hours. The neuroradiologist, neurologist,
interventional radiology technician, EEG technician, neuropsychologist
and psychometrist are all present during your testing.
- After the Wada test is done, the patient is monitored closely for
4-6 hours until he/she is discharged later that day after a
post-monitoring recovery period. During this recovery period, the
neuropsychologist reviews the results of the Wada test with the patient
and his/her family.
NeuroCare Brain and Spine Centerâ„¢
Toll-free (877) 577-5800
2845 Greenbrier Road
P.O. Box 8900
Green Bay, WI 54308-8900