Wada Testing

Some patients who are being evaluated for epilepsy surgery will undergo the Wada test, also called an intracarotid sodium amobarbital procedure (ISAP).

The test requires a team of specialists, including an interventional radiologist, neuropsychologist, EEG technologist and your child’s pediatric epileptologist. Our neuropsychologists will perform the test to identify which side of the child’s brain controls speech and memory, and if either is located on the side of the brain where the seizures originate. The Wada test is safe.

  1. A catheter is first inserted in the leg and threaded via the blood vessels up to the neck, allowing a special dye to be in injected and flow into the brain’s circulation. The dye will show whether there are any obstacles to performing the Wada test and will demonstrate the anatomy of the brain circulation.
  2. A medicine is then injected into a blood vessel on one side of the neck (the carotid artery) and puts one hemisphere of the child’s brain to sleep. The neuropsychologist will show pictures and objects to your child, to see if the “awake” hemisphere can recognize them.
  3. When the medicine wears off and the brain is fully awake, your child is asked to recall the objects that were shown.
  4. The other side of the brain is then put to sleep, and different objects and pictures are shown. When the medication wears off and the brain “awakens,” the child is again asked to recall the objects that were shown.