Postictal language dysfunction in patients with right or bilateral hemispheric language localization

Epilepsia. 1996 Oct;37(10):936-41. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1157.1996.tb00530.x.


Purpose: As shown previously, when temporal lobe complex partial seizures (TLCPS) originate from the language dominant hemisphere, patients cannot read a test phrase correctly within 60 s of the end of the ictal discharge. We wished to assess whether postictal language testing results discordant with this pattern identified patients with non-left (right hemisphere or mixed) language dominance.

Methods: Since 1988, all patients undergoing video/EEG monitoring at our institution have been given a test phrase to read aloud as soon as a seizure is detected. Inclusion criteria for this study were (a) postictal language testing within 60 s of seizure end for at least one TLCPS, (b) > 90% seizure reduction after anterior temporal lobectomy with 2-year minimum follow-up, and (c) language localization by either intracarotid amobarbital test (IAT) or direct electrical stimulation of left hemisphere cortex.

Results: Two hundred twenty-four seizures in 64 patients were analyzed. Discordant postictal language patterns were noted in 10 of 11 patients with IAT documented non-left language dominance and in 15 of 53 with left dominance (p = 0.006; sensitivity 90.9%, specificity 71.7%).

Conclusions: Postictal language testing accurately identifies patients with non-left language dominance and may be useful in selecting appropriate patients for IAT.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amobarbital / pharmacology
  • Electroencephalography
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / diagnosis*
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / surgery
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Functional Laterality* / drug effects
  • Functional Laterality* / physiology
  • Humans
  • Language Disorders / diagnosis
  • Language Disorders / physiopathology
  • Language Tests
  • Language*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Speech
  • Temporal Lobe / surgery
  • Videotape Recording


  • Amobarbital