Seizures during intracarotid methohexital and amobarbital testing

Tobias Loddenkemper*, Gabriel Möddel, Stephan U. Schuele, Elaine Wyllie, Harold H. Morris

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background: Methohexital and amobarbital have been used as agents for Wada testing in the presurgical evaluation of patients with epilepsy. Previous experience with methohexital as an anesthetic indicates that methohexital may decrease seizure threshold and may trigger seizures. Methods: A retrospective chart review of 760 intracarotid amobarbital and methohexital tests was performed to determine the frequency of seizures associated with preoperative intracarotid barbiturate testing for language and memory lateralization. Results: Sixteen patients (2.1%) who had seizures were found. In 3 patients, seizures occurred prior to barbiturate injection, and in 13, following barbiturate injection. After injection of amobarbital, 4 of 538 patients (0.7%) had a seizure. Nine of 222 patients had a seizure after methohexital injection (4.1%) (P = 0.001). Conclusion: Patients with a previous history of epilepsy may be at higher risk for seizures after methohexital injection as compared with amobarbital injection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-54
Number of pages6
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2007


  • Intracarotid amobarbital test
  • Methohexital
  • Seizures
  • Wada test

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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