, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 41-74

Beyond Speech Lateralization: A Review of the Variability, Reliability, and Validity of the Intracarotid Amobarbital Procedure and Its Nonlanguage Uses in Epilepsy Surgery Candidates

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While the intracarotid amobarbital procedure (IAP) was originally utilized to lateralize speech functions as an aid in the surgical treatment of epilepsy, additional uses for the IAP have emerged including: (1) the use of the IAP to predict post-surgical memory changes, including both global amnesia and smaller, yet significant, material-specific memory deficits; (2) the use of the IAP to provide confirmatory evidence of lateralization of seizure focus; and (3) the use of the IAP to predict post-surgical relief from seizures. While the literature on the IAP is extensive and growing, its utility is marred by the wide variability associated with the procedure itself from epilepsy center to center. This variability renders comparisons among IAP studies problematic and conclusions about IAP efficacy difficult. The variability associated with the amobarbital procedures, as well as the reliability and the validity of the IAP in its nonlanguage uses is reviewed here. A special emphasis is devoted to research conducted in the last decade. Also discussed is the future of the IAP including anticipated research directions.